There's the objective of keeping everyone posted on Overseas Americans Week. Then there's the reality of just not being able to sit down and write something. Forget about tweeting -- it's just not for me. Look at the logistics. If I leave the wifi on all the time on my phone, I'll wear down the battery. Plus, we don't always have decent wifi. I've got a pre-paid card (and in the US, that's not a really cheap option, just marginally less expensive than the 7-day plan I could have gotten on SFR with my French number) so I don't want to leave it on data mode, either. We don't have time to get out the computer all the time, either. I have managed to sit down, maybe once during the "work" day, each day, to connect myself, post a facebook update, or something.. But I also want to take the time to assemble my notes, so I can't spend all that time on internet.
I do want to thank the readers who have tweeted, referring their followers to my posts, and those who have shared on Facebook. My readership has spiked. My blog is not really intended for wide readership, but on these occasions, I do appreciate it.
Back to these last two days. Tuesday was a day full of meetings. We can't give the details of the talks. We have our position papers and this year we are talking a lot about banking discrimination both from the US side and the foreign side. I think we all know about the banking discrimination. I've talked about it enough; so has Victoria. And we'll continue to gripe. And when you talk about the discrimination on the part of foreign financial institutions, you talk about FATCA.
The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Traveler Card. (APEC card) is something new. The US is one of the 27 partners in APEC and the card is to allow business travelers from member economies to have streamlined immigration procedures when entering member territories. All the member economies have issued the cards except the US, which passed the law authorizing the cards in 2011. Homeland Security has not yet issued the cards, so we are asking legislators to put some pressure on. This has raised lots of eyebrows. It's something to aid commerce. US commerce.
The staff members we meet in legislators offices are very receptive to our positions. It's surprising how many of them have parents, siblings, friends living in foreign countries who have let them know already of our issues. They just didn't realize how widespread they were. Since I was privileged to have participated in this last year, it's also nice to go into some offices and see familiar faces -- we're bringing them up to date.
There are other meetings with administration representatives, like the one with Nina Olson on Monday and the one at the State Department this morning. I was at a meeting in Senator Toomey's office this morning, so I missed the State Department meeting, but I know it lasted a full hour longer than was scheduled, because I was saving seats for everyone for a long, long, long time at the Longworth cafeteria. That's always an important meeting where the citizenship questions are raised, and consular services....
I did mention spotty internet at the beginning. I interrupted this post for dinner and had no internet afterwards. So, Day 4 is dawning and I'm sending this off before we get cut off again.