Rob Sequin | Havana Journal
The House will be voting as early as tomorrow on an omnibus spending bill that will include the rollback on Cuban American travel restrictions allow people with Cuban heritage to travel freely to Cuba.
The current restrictions allow Cuban Americans to visit only immediate family once every three years with a maximum of fourteen days on the island. Also, they are currently restricted to spending no more than $50 per day while traveling in Cuba.
The language is included in a spending bill that is passed each year in Congress to finance government operations.
Once this bill is signed by President Obama, this new law would allow Cuban Americans to travel to Cuba once a year to visit relatives and spend up to $170 a day for an unlimited duration.
This is the text of the bill that addresses this policy change:
SEC. 620. Section 910(a) of the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7209(a)) is amended to read as follows:
(a) AUTHORIZATION OF TRAVEL RELATING TO COMMERCIAL SALES OF AGRICULTURAL AND MEDICAL GOODS- The Secretary of the Treasury shall promulgate regulations under which the travel related transactions listed in paragraph (c) of section 515.560 of title 31, Code of Federal Regulations, are authorized by general license for travel to, from, or within Cuba for the marketing and sale of agricultural and medical goods pursuant to the provisions of this title.
SEC. 621. None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to administer, implement, or enforce the amendments made to section 515.560 and section 515.561 of title 31, Code of Federal Regulations, related to travel to visit relatives in Cuba, that were published in the Federal Register on June 16, 2004. END
The bill is slated to pass the House this week and the Senate soon thereafter. There is a vocal but small group of Republicans who oppose this bill. However, since President Bush is no longer in office threatening a veto of any bill that contained any language that would ease the Cuban Embargo, it is likely to pass. With bills to lift the travel restrictions on all Americans recently introduced in the House and in the Senate, this bill will be an interesting test for any opposition of lifting freedom of travel restrictions on Americans.
Also, since this bill includes federal funding of $183 million for comprehensive Everglades restoration and would provide many jobs for people in Florida, the usual opponents in Miami will have to decide whether they want to oppose this bill because of the Cuba language or if they want to support this bill becuase of the job creation funding that will bring money to their state.
Thomas.gov and enter bill number HR 1105 to follow the progress of the bill.