Press Release from the Latin America Working Group
Senate Seconds September House Vote and Defies Pressure from
The Senate voted today to end the ban on travel to Cuba. The vote
comes less than two weeks after a press conference by President Bush in which he announced that he would crack down on people traveling to Cuba illegally.
Philip Schmidt of the Latin America Working Group noted, “The Bush
Administration has repeatedly threatened to veto any bill that would
ease the embargo, but bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate have
rejected this pressure and voted their conscience on Cuba policy by supporting an end to restrictions on Americans’ right to travel to Cuba.”
The Senate passed two amendments by voice vote that would prohibit
funding for enforcement of restrictions on travel to Cuba. The amendments were introduced by Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Larry Craig (R-ID). The votes came after a motion to table the amendments by Senator Ted
Stevens (R-AK) failed by a vote of 36 to 59.
The House passed an amendment to end the travel ban on September 9th by a vote of 227-188. The House and Senate amendments were on each
chamber’s version of the Treasury, Transportation and General Government
Appropriations bill. Because the language that passed the Senate today
is identical to the amendment that passed the House last month, it will be
difficult for the measure to be changed or taken out of the final version of bill negotiated by the conference committee before it is sent to the President.
“Both the House and Senate have demonstrated their strong support for a
new approach to Cuba. The Bush Administration should recognize it is
behind the times in its approach to Cuba, because Congress has clearly
demonstrated it will no longer let U.S.-Cuba policy be determined by domestic politics,” commented Rachel Farley of the Washington Office on Latin America.