Rob Sequin | Havana Journal
HR 4645 is the agriculture/travel to Cuba bill in the House that has 62 cosponsors, some that had not supported the popular HR 874 (The companion bill in the Senate is S 1089).
On the Wednesday June 30 at 2pm (assuming the death of Sen. Byrd does not affect schedules), the House Agriculture Committee will mark-up the bill that ends all travel restrictions and simplifies agricultural sales.
John McAuliff of the Fund for Reconciliation and Development writes to his email subscribers this note:
“This week may be the last best opportunity for change in US policy on travel to Cuba.
In Cuba positive developments between the Catholic Church and government, a pro-travel letter from dissidents, and humanitarian gestures on prisoners have created a favorable atmosphere for movement in Washington.
However, the window of opportunity is closing. If the Republicans win control of the House in the mid-term elections in November, the crucial Foreign Affairs Committee will be led by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, an adamant enemy of travel.
The most urgent task is to reach out to members of the Agriculture Committee. Then, if they send the bill to the floor, each of us must contact our Representative to reinforce or modify his or her position, anticipating a vote in July.
At the same time the President should be pressed to finally use the authority he already has.”
Your House Representative
If your Rep is listed below, please give him/her a call and ask them to support this Bill.
($ = donations for 2010 election by the pro embargo US-Cuba Democracy PAC)
Essential and possible: Cuellar D-TX-28 ($1000), Halvorson D-IL-11 ($1000), Kratovil D-MD-01 ($2000), Murphy, Scott D-NY-20 ($2000).
Harder but important: Kissell D-NC-08 ($2000), Roe R-TN-01 ($0), Schauer D-MI-07 ($3000), Smith, Adrian R-NE-03 ($2000), Rogers, Michael R-AL-03 ($0), Fortenberry R-NE-01 ($0), Marshall D-GA-08 ($2000)
Representatives who have received money from south Florida ought to be as willing to hear opinions from pro-travel outsiders. Even better is finding a friend, family member or colleague who lives in the District and will advocate on your behalf. (This needs to happen on Tuesday for greatest impact.)
During mark-up, an effort will be made to remove or constrain the travel provisions. If the bill is approved by Committee, it is likely to come to the House floor between the July and August recesses (July 12 - August 8).
Visit the Latin America Working Group End the Travel Ban page to find your Congressperson and to get a sample letter.
Also, be sure to read