Cuba Politics

Summary of all five bills in Congress regarding Cuba Embargo policy

Posted February 24, 2009 by publisher in Cuba Politics.

Rob Sequin | Havana Journal

Quietly (or not so quietly depending how much of a Cuba watcher you are) four bills in the House and one bill in the Senate have been introduced that will in some way, if passed, change US Cuba policy.

Go to and search for any of these bills for more information and current updates on their status.


Baseball Diplomacy Act - Waives certain foreign assistance and trade and travel prohibitions against Cuba under specified federal law regarding Cuban nationals who: (1) enter the United States on a visa to play organized professional baseball; and (2) return to Cuba with their baseball earnings. States that such visa shall be valid only for the duration of the season and need not be renewed as long as the player remains with the same team.

Prohibits the President from denying visas to such nationals based upon authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act to restrict any entry of aliens or class of aliens that would be detrimental to U.S. interests.

Declares that this Act shall not be affected by the economic embargo requirements against Cuba under the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996.


Cuba Reconciliation Act - Amends the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (including other specified laws) to repeal the embargo placed upon all trade with Cuba.

Amends the Internal Revenue Code to declare the denial of foreign tax credit inapplicable to Cuba.

Permits: (1) installation and maintenance of telecommunications equipment and facilities in Cuba, including telecommunications services between the United States and Cuba; and (2) travel to and from Cuba by U.S. citizens or residents.

Requires the U.S. Postal Service to provide direct mail service to and from Cuba.


Pursuit of International Education (PIE) Act of 2009 - Prohibits the use of funds made available to the Department of the Treasury to implement, administer, or enforce regulations to require specific licenses for travel-related transactions directly related to educational activities in Cuba.


Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act - Prohibits 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, except in time of war or armed hostilities between the United States and Cuba, or of imminent danger to the public health or the physical safety of U.S. travelers.


Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act - Prohibits 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. Prohibits any regulation restricting or prohibiting such travel from having any effect. Makes the preceding provisions inapplicable in 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.

Lastly, the Lexington Institute offers this Issues for the 111th Congress 53 page document that goes into great detail explaining the current situation in Cuba and the state of affairs between the US and Cuba.

Member Comments

On February 24, 2009, abh wrote:

Very helpful and interesting information, thanks for always being on top of these issues.
I’m especially entertained by the “Baseball Diplomacy Act”—is this sponsored by the baseball owners? wink

On February 24, 2009, publisher wrote:

Hmmm? Right.

Who knows, maybe there will be some Cuban talent coming this way before the season starts.

Imagine if Cuba was allowed into Major League Baseball like the Canadians are in now?

WOW! Now we’re talking baseball!

On February 24, 2009, abh wrote:

Not to get too far off topic but I’m definitely looking forward to the World Baseball Classic coming up in March.
Cuba got to the finals last time and I’m hoping for a US-Cuba matchup at some point in this tournament.

On February 24, 2009, publisher wrote:

If that happens and one of these bills goes through then we can go there to watch a game. Maybe even some Cubans can come to the US to watch a game.

Wouldn’t that be great?

On February 25, 2009, bernie wrote:

WOW:  5 bills to go thru the political process,  why can’t their be just one bill that would go thru the lenghthy process of being passed?????.
Isn’t their any common sense in Washington D.C. ?????
Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how ridiculous these guys in Washington are???/

On February 25, 2009, abh wrote:

I think there is probably a rational explanation but i wont be accused of trying to defend the US govt since I already get accused of trying to defend the Cuban govt wink
My understanding is that realistically, the best way to end the embargo is to chip away at it piece by piece.

On March 01, 2009, MILAGROS wrote:

hmmm. why do away with it? Why not talk to the Castro bros and get them to reform? I believe that Pres Obama is just the man to do that..What we would do well to remember is that under Batista things were much worse, when 90% of the population controlled the 10% who were the bread and butter on the island?
Unless and until you understand why revolution took place and are old enough to remember the hunger as a child then perhaps one would consider the whole truth?
Fidel is a great man YES!! there are problems but look at the out house Bush left the US in?
YES, fidel is old and sick and we all know that his days are numbered (NO! he is not dead) however, whatever this liberator has done his intentions were right. When the US placed the embargo on my country in 1961 there were no others willing to go against the US except the then USSR? 
I remember my fam traveling doing gigs and sending $$$ back which we used in Matanza to feed all of the people..
Wheni was 14 or so and always wanted more food than what we had,,so i remember when Castro made the deal with Krushchev and i am glad he did.
YES i can admit that things can be better, and trust me they will..and soon
What i would like to see is for Fidel and his entourage to retire, and go to Sierra mdre and relax and enjoy themselves, and be proud that God has kept them alive..
I take my hat off to this man…and wish him well


On March 02, 2009, Cubaking wrote:

Hey Ho and off wee go… I was looking for a six months timetable looks to be sooner now….. Nice post RS, Bravo

On March 03, 2009, publisher wrote:

From John McAuliff,

Yesterday in the Senate debate on the Omnibus Appropriations bill Bob Menendez delivered a long and impassioned speech against Cuba.  Any policy change we can imagine had a condition attached which would make it a non-starter in Havana.  In the case of family travel it was:

“In exchange for more frequent visits from Cuban-American families who bring money and resources to the island, let us insist that the Cuban regime permit those who want to travel to Cuba and visit human rights activists, democracy activists, independent journalists, and other civil society advocates, be given visas as well.”

He threatened that the Cuba language would put the Omnibus bill in jeopardy.

After he spoke, Senator Reid took the floor, expressing warmly his long association with Menendez:

“As the distinguished Senator from New Jersey knows, I have locked arms with Congressman and now Senator from New Jersey for many years. In fact, my votes in years past have not always been in the majority, but they have always been something I felt comfortable doing and still feel comfortable doing.

I appreciate the statement made by my friend from New Jersey. I am committed to work with him to see what we can do to resolve the injustice that is taking place 90 miles off the shore of America and, once and for all, give those people who live in Las Vegas—people do not realize the largest number of Cuban Americans live in Florida, next is New Jersey, and, surprisingly, next is Nevada.

I worked with my friends there, Tony Alamo and many others, over the years to try to bring justice to an unjust system. I appreciate very much the statement made by my friend from New Jersey. I look forward to working with him on all other issues.”

Reid did not say he would support Menendez’ goal of stripping the Cuba language from the bill.  A news story says Nelson, Florida’s Democratic Senator, is supporting the inclusion of the Cuba language.

Amendments will be accepted for debate, but the Democrats may try to vote down all of them in order to get the bill adopted by Friday and avoid its return to the House.

However, if Menendez and Martinez succeed, this bodes ill for the Cuba travel bill.  It also could have a negative effect on the Administration’s inter agency policy review.

On March 27, 2009, publisher wrote:


HR187 - No change, 0 Co-sponsors

HR188 - No change, 0 Co-sponsors

HR332 - No change, 0 Co-sponsors

HR874 - No change, 8 original Co-sponsors

S428 - Still in committee but now has 18 Co-sponsors

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

On March 27, 2009, MILAGROS wrote:


i see that u stay on top of this as we are. i will be going there in 30 days

On March 27, 2009, publisher wrote:

Have a great trip. Please keep us posted.

On March 29, 2009, publisher wrote:

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.

On March 31, 2009, publisher wrote:

HR 874 now has 121 co-sponsors and there will be a news conference on Thursday April 2 at 11am

Rep Abercrombie, Neil [HI-1] - 3/30/2009
Rep Baird, Brian [WA-3] - 3/30/2009
Rep Baldwin, Tammy [WI-2] - 3/30/2009
Rep Berry, Marion [AR-1] - 3/30/2009
Rep Biggert, Judy [IL-13] - 3/30/2009
Rep Bishop, Timothy H. [NY-1] - 3/30/2009
Rep Blumenauer, Earl [OR-3] - 3/30/2009
Rep Boozman, John [AR-3] - 3/30/2009
Rep Boswell, Leonard L. [IA-3] - 3/30/2009
Rep Brady, Robert A. [PA-1] - 3/30/2009
Rep Brown, Henry E., Jr. [SC-1] - 3/30/2009
Rep Capps, Lois [CA-23] - 3/30/2009
Rep Capuano, Michael E. [MA-8] - 3/30/2009
Rep Chaffetz, Jason [UT-3] - 3/30/2009
Rep Clarke, Yvette D. [NY-11] - 3/30/2009
Rep Clay, Wm. Lacy [MO-1] - 3/30/2009
Rep Cleaver, Emanuel [MO-5] - 3/30/2009
Rep Cohen, Steve [TN-9] - 3/30/2009
Rep Conyers, John, Jr. [MI-14] - 3/30/2009
Rep Cooper, Jim [TN-5] - 3/30/2009
Rep Costa, Jim [CA-20] - 3/30/2009
Rep Costello, Jerry F. [IL-12] - 3/30/2009
Rep Courtney, Joe [CT-2] - 3/30/2009
Rep Crowley, Joseph [NY-7] - 3/30/2009
Rep Cummings, Elijah E. [MD-7] - 3/30/2009
Rep Davis, Lincoln [TN-4] - 3/30/2009
Rep DeFazio, Peter A. [OR-4] - 3/30/2009
Rep DeLauro, Rosa L. [CT-3] - 2/4/2009
Rep Doggett, Lloyd [TX-25] - 3/30/2009
Rep Doyle, Michael F. [PA-14] - 3/30/2009
Rep Edwards, Donna F. [MD-4] - 2/4/2009
Rep Ehlers, Vernon J. [MI-3] - 3/30/2009
Rep Ellison, Keith [MN-5] - 3/30/2009
Rep Emerson, Jo Ann [MO-8] - 2/4/2009
Rep Eshoo, Anna G. [CA-14] - 3/30/2009
Rep Etheridge, Bob [NC-2] - 3/30/2009
Rep Farr, Sam [CA-17] - 2/4/2009
Rep Fattah, Chaka [PA-2] - 3/30/2009
Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51] - 3/30/2009
Rep Flake, Jeff [AZ-6] - 2/4/2009
Rep Frank, Barney [MA-4] - 3/30/2009
Rep Gonzalez, Charles A. [TX-20] - 3/30/2009
Rep Gordon, Bart [TN-6] - 3/30/2009
Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [AZ-7] - 3/30/2009
Rep Harman, Jane [CA-36] - 3/30/2009
Rep Hinchey, Maurice D. [NY-22] - 3/30/2009
Rep Honda, Michael M. [CA-15] - 3/30/2009
Rep Israel, Steve [NY-2] - 3/30/2009
Rep Jackson, Jesse L., Jr. [IL-2] - 3/30/2009
Rep Jackson-Lee, Sheila [TX-18] - 3/30/2009
Rep Johnson, Eddie Bernice [TX-30] - 3/30/2009
Rep Johnson, Henry C. “Hank,” Jr. [GA-4] - 3/30/2009
Rep Johnson, Timothy V. [IL-15] - 3/30/2009
Rep Kagen, Steve [WI-8] - 3/30/2009
Rep Kaptur, Marcy [OH-9] - 3/30/2009
Rep Kilpatrick, Carolyn C. [MI-13] - 3/30/2009
Rep Kilroy, Mary Jo [OH-15] - 3/30/2009
Rep Kind, Ron [WI-3] - 3/30/2009
Rep Kucinich, Dennis J. [OH-10] - 3/30/2009
Rep Larsen, Rick [WA-2] - 3/30/2009
Rep Larson, John B. [CT-1] - 3/30/2009
Rep Lee, Barbara [CA-9] - 3/30/2009
Rep Lofgren, Zoe [CA-16] - 3/30/2009
Rep Lowey, Nita M. [NY-18] - 3/30/2009
Rep Lummis, Cynthia M. [WY] - 3/30/2009
Rep Lynch, Stephen F. [MA-9] - 3/30/2009
Rep Maloney, Carolyn B. [NY-14] - 3/30/2009
Rep Markey, Edward J. [MA-7] - 3/30/2009
Rep Matheson, Jim [UT-2] - 3/30/2009
Rep Matsui, Doris O. [CA-5] - 3/30/2009
Rep McCarthy, Carolyn [NY-4] - 3/30/2009
Rep McCollum, Betty [MN-4] - 3/30/2009
Rep McDermott, Jim [WA-7] - 3/30/2009
Rep McGovern, James P. [MA-3] - 2/4/2009
Rep Meeks, Gregory W. [NY-6] - 3/30/2009
Rep Michaud, Michael H. [ME-2] - 3/30/2009
Rep Miller, George [CA-7] - 3/30/2009
Rep Mollohan, Alan B. [WV-1] - 3/30/2009
Rep Moore, Dennis [KS-3] - 3/30/2009
Rep Moore, Gwen [WI-4] - 3/30/2009
Rep Moran, James P. [VA-8] - 3/30/2009
Rep Moran, Jerry [KS-1] - 2/4/2009
Rep Nadler, Jerrold [NY-8] - 3/30/2009
Rep Neal, Richard E. [MA-2] - 3/30/2009
Rep Norton, Eleanor Holmes [DC] - 3/30/2009
Rep Oberstar, James L. [MN-8] - 3/30/2009
Rep Olver, John W. [MA-1] - 3/30/2009
Rep Ortiz, Solomon P. [TX-27] - 3/30/2009
Rep Pastor, Ed [AZ-4] - 3/30/2009
Rep Paul, Ron [TX-14] - 2/4/2009
Rep Payne, Donald M. [NJ-10] - 3/30/2009
Rep Peterson, Collin C. [MN-7] - 3/30/2009
Rep Pingree, Chellie [ME-1] - 3/30/2009
Rep Polis, Jared [CO-2] - 3/30/2009
Rep Price, David E. [NC-4] - 3/30/2009
Rep Rangel, Charles B. [NY-15] - 3/30/2009
Rep Ross, Mike [AR-4] - 3/30/2009
Rep Ryan, Tim [OH-17] - 3/30/2009
Rep Sanchez, Loretta [CA-47] - 3/30/2009
Rep Schakowsky, Janice D. [IL-9] - 3/30/2009
Rep Schwartz, Allyson Y. [PA-13] - 3/30/2009
Rep Serrano, Jose E. [NY-16] - 3/30/2009
Rep Slaughter, Louise McIntosh [NY-28] - 3/30/2009
Rep Smith, Adam [WA-9] - 3/30/2009
Rep Snyder, Vic [AR-2] - 3/30/2009
Rep Stark, Fortney Pete [CA-13] - 3/30/2009
Rep Tanner, John S. [TN-8] - 3/30/2009
Rep Tauscher, Ellen O. [CA-10] - 3/30/2009
Rep Thompson, Bennie G. [MS-2] - 3/30/2009
Rep Thompson, Mike [CA-1] - 3/30/2009
Rep Tierney, John F. [MA-6] - 3/30/2009
Rep Towns, Edolphus [NY-10] - 3/30/2009
Rep Van Hollen, Chris [MD-8] - 3/30/2009
Rep Velazquez, Nydia M. [NY-12] - 3/30/2009
Rep Walz, Timothy J. [MN-1] - 3/30/2009
Rep Waters, Maxine [CA-35] - 3/30/2009
Rep Watson, Diane E. [CA-33] - 3/30/2009
Rep Waxman, Henry A. [CA-30] - 3/30/2009
Rep Welch, Peter [VT] - 3/30/2009
Rep Woolsey, Lynn C. [CA-6] - 3/30/2009
Rep Yarmuth, John A. [KY-3] - 3/30/2009