Cuba Travel Ban Could be Doomed
A bipartisan group of US Congress people jumped the gun on President Obama on Wednesday to change US policy towards Cuba.
The first step, contained in House Bill H.R.874, would lift the travel ban on US citizens wanting to go to Cuba.
While attention around a possible change in Cuba policy has focused on whether President Obama would make a bold move to hold face-to-face, unconditioned talks with Raul Castro, Congress may be the scene of earlier action.
During his campaign President Obama promised to ease restrictions on Cuban-Americans to travel to Cuba and send home remittances. While he did not commit himself to taking the ban off the rest of US citizens from traveling to the island, many analysts believe he would not veto such legislation if passed by Congress.
The bipartisan nature of the bill stems from a desire of a growing number of legislators and governors to break fifty years of icy relations and open up trade with Cuba. Restoring Americans right to travel is considered to be a first step in that direction.
Currently US citizens need hard to get special permission to legally visit the island from the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Treasury Department. They are subject to heavy fines or possible imprisonment for going illegally.
The four Democrats and four Republicans co-sponsoring the bill submitted by William Delahunt (D-MA) are Rosa L. De Lauro (D-CT); Donna F. Edwards (D-MD); Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO); Sam Farr (D-CA); Jeff Flake (R-AZ); Jerry Moran (R-KS); Ron Paul (R-TX) and James P McGovern (D-MA).