Rob Sequin | Havana Journal
Introduced on February 12, 2009 by Senator Dorgan, the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act, if passed, will prohibit the President from regulating or prohibiting travel to or from Cuba by U.S. citizens or legal residents or any of the transactions ordinarily incident to such travel. The only exception would be during a time of war or armed hostilities between the United States and Cuba or if there is imminent danger to the public health or the physical safety of U.S. travelers.
To date the Bill has been gained co-sponsors but is still under review by the Committee on Foreign Relations.
Co-sponsors of the bill
Sen Barrasso, John [WY] - 2/23/2009
Sen Baucus, Max [MT] - 3/2/2009
Sen Bennet, Michael F. [CO] - 3/11/2009
Sen Bingaman, Jeff [NM] - 3/10/2009
Sen Boxer, Barbara [CA] - 3/10/2009
Sen Conrad, Kent [ND] - 3/17/2009
Sen Dodd, Christopher J. [CT] - 2/12/2009
Sen Durbin, Richard [IL] - 3/2/2009
Sen Enzi, Michael B. [WY] - 2/12/2009
Sen Feingold, Russell D. [WI] - 3/3/2009
Sen Feinstein, Dianne [CA] - 2/26/2009
Sen Harkin, Tom [IA] - 3/2/2009
Sen Johnson, Tim [SD] - 3/6/2009
Sen Leahy, Patrick J. [VT] - 3/6/2009
Sen Lugar, Richard G. [IN] - 2/12/2009
Sen Reed, Jack [RI] - 3/12/2009
Sen Sanders, Bernard [VT] - 3/12/2009
Sen Wyden, Ron [OR] - 2/25/2009
Congressman William Delahunt has introduced Bill HR874 in the House with the same language.
Text of the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2009
Mr. DORGAN (for himself, Mr. ENZI, Mr. LUGAR, and Mr. DODD) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations
To allow travel between the United States and Cuba.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act’.
SEC. 2. TRAVEL TO CUBA.
On and after the date of the enactment of this Act, and subject to section 3—
(1) the President may not regulate or prohibit, directly or indirectly, travel to or from Cuba by United States citizens or legal residents, or any of the transactions incident to such travel; and
(2) any regulation in effect on such date of enactment that regulates or prohibits travel to or from Cuba by United States citizens or legal residents or transactions incident to such travel shall cease to have any force or effect.
SEC. 3. EXCEPTIONS.
Section 2 shall not apply in a case in which the United States is at war with Cuba, armed hostilities between the two countries are in progress, or there is imminent danger to the public health or the physical safety of United States travelers.
SEC. 4. APPLICABILITY.
This Act applies to actions taken by the President before the date of the enactment of this Act that are in effect on such date of enactment, and to actions taken on or after such date.
SEC. 5. INAPPLICABILITY OF OTHER PROVISIONS.
The provisions of this Act apply notwithstanding section 102(h) of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 (22 U.S.C. 6032(h)) and section 910(b) of the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7210(b)).
March 29 update
The Senate legislation, S, 428, the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act, will be discussed in a press conference on Tuesday by U.S. Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Michael Enzi (R-WY) and representatives from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Farm Bureau Federation, and Human Rights Watch.
A separate House event will also take place later in the week.
March 30 update
This article from the Washington Post, Momentum Grows for Relaxing Cuba Policy talks about how Senator Menendez’s views ofUS Cuba policy are outdated, in the minority and in need of a fresh look. Senator Dorgan appears very confident about the passage of this Bill and the end of the Cuba travel restrictions by saying that “it is all over but for the shouting”.
The article quotes senior Administration officials saying that President Obama is expected to further loosen travel restrictions for all Americans by the time he goes to the April 17-19 Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago.
U.S. Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Michael Enzi (R-WY), Myron Brilliant from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation Bob Stallman and Human Rights Watch Executive Director Jose Miguel Vivanco will hold a press conference Tuesday, March 31, at 12:00 p.m. in room SVC-203 of the United States Capitol Visitors Center in support of S428, the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act.
The two Senators introduced this Bill along with Senators Christopher Dodd and Richard Lugar in February.