Tuesday, March 25, 2014

We're in Washington -- AARO!

Victoria (follow her on the Franco-American Flophouse) and I are sharing a flat, obtained via airbnb, in the Adams Morgan section of DC, right near the zoo. We walked to, and later from, the metro station at Woodley Park -- a pleasant walk across Rock Creek on the Duke Ellington Bridge. It's a neighborhood, with people going about their business and as we were walking home yesterday evening, we thought how far we were from the hill.
So, let's go to the hill, which is why we are here in DC, anyway! It's Overseas Americans Week. This year, the delegation is made up of AARO (sorry, no link because it's still the old, outdated website and I won't put up a link until the new site is up) and FAWCO, the Federation of American Women's Clubs Overseas. Our partners at ACA now have a permanent presence in Washington. The AARO Facebook page will carry regular updates. We are united in our positions and efforts to bring about change in the laws, rules and regulations that have had unintended negative consequences on we who live abroad.
To start, breakfast at the Longworth Cafeteria. It was the first chance we had for all of us to get together. Tim's not in this picture, because he's the one who took it. We got down to business as soon as we cleared away the trays. Got out schedule sorted out: who would attend which meetings. Today, Tuesday, that's especially important as we've got several simultaneous appointments.
Then, we all went off to the IRS to the Taxpayer Advocate Service, headed by Nina Olson, who has extensive knowledge of our particular issues and has worked very hard to bring about change. In fact, AARO presented her with an award for her dedication. Her key staff were also present and we all recognize that their contribution is immeasurable. We can't say too much, yet, about the content of the meeting. But our key issues are very high on their list of priorities.
Back to the hill, first to bring Carolyn Maloney's office up to date. She is the co-chair of the Americans Abroad Caucus. And on to other representatives. No need to go into details. I think that our new issue on APEC cards (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the card is the ABTC, Asia business travel card) is getting a lot of attention. This is a card that allows streamlined processing for business travelers belonging to the APEC economies. The US is one, so it honors the cards of business travelers from member economies, and passed a law in 2011 to establish the card for US business travelers. Homeland Security has still not issued those cards.
Must go, now. Today is a busy, busy day.

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