House Panel Votes to Ease Cuba Travel Restrictions

Yahoo: The House Agriculture Committee voted Wednesday to reverse a decades-long ban on United States citizens traveling to Cuba and to ease restrictions on the sale of American commodities there.

Though the vote is only a first step toward Congressional approval of the changes, supporters view it as a significant step toward normalization of the relationship between the countries.

The bill, the Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act, must still go through the Foreign Affairs and Financial Services Committees before it can be considered by the full House. Then the Senate would have to act.

Proponents of the bill said it would be a major boost for American farmers. The bill, which would allow American commodities to be sold directly to Cuba and allow some direct financial transactions with Cuban banks, is supported by several business and farming groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Farmers Union.

“This is a great opportunity to expand trade,” said Representative Collin C.Peterson, Democrat of Minnesota and the chairman of the committee.

The measure was approved 25 to 20, with only four Republicans supporting the bill.

Before its final vote, the Agriculture Committee rejected several amendments that would have eliminated the travel ban reversal or delayed its enactment; those votes split largely along partisan lines, with Democrats favoring more immediate implementation.

Both the House and the Senate tried to ease the travel ban during the Bush administration, but were threatened with a veto from the president.

In April 2009, President Obama allowed Cuban-Americans with family members in Cuba to travel to the country.

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One Response to House Panel Votes to Ease Cuba Travel Restrictions

  1. Pingback: Travel to Cuba not more a Dream it will open new perspective « CheapFlightsShop

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