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Save Travel to Cuba: Another Negative Cuba Rider Needs Your Attention

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Authors: Angelika Albaladejo, Mavis Anderson

flying-over-beachWe asked you to take action on the CJS appropriations bill on June 2 and 3. Thank you for taking action! As expected, the Farr amendment did not pass (this is the House of Representatives, remember). The vote count was 153 in favor, 273 against, 7 not voting. Only two Republicans voted with us— Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Cramer (R-ND). You could thank them! Concerning in this count is: some of our Republican allies on ending the travel ban voted against the amendment, and we even lost a few Democrats that have been supportive in the past— Ruppersberger (D-MD), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Lynch (D-MA).
As you can see, we have work to do!

So, we’re back with another request: Act now to save the President’s new rules on travel to Cuba. A minority in the Congress are looking for any way possible to obstruct the President’s policy. Today it is a Cuba rider on the bill (HR 2577) appropriating funds for the Departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) and related agencies.

We again need your help to defeat the Cuba language added to this bill by Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and intended to roll back President Obama’s new regulations on travel to Cuba. This bill will come to the floor of the House for a vote late in the day on June 3rd or 4th, so your immediate action is called for!

Contact your representative IMMEDIATELY to tell her/him to:

Support the Sanford-Lee amendment to strike the Cuba rider in the Transportation HUD appropriations bill. This excellent amendment by Reps. Mark Sanford (R-SC) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) would remove Sections 193 and 414 of HR 2577 (you can read them below in their entirety). These two anti-Cuba travel policy riders would prohibit American vessels and aircraft from passing near ports or over land that was previously seized by the Cuban government.

  • Call

    • This is the preferred action. Call the capitol switchboard number: 202.224.3121 and ask to be connected to your representative’s office.
  • Email

Simply tell your member of Congress: Support the Sanford-Lee amendment on HR 2577 (Transportation-HUD appropriations bill) to remove Sections 193 sand 414, which contain language that obstructs the President’s new travel-to-Cuba policy.

Please make your calls now! We can’t let the new provisions ordered by President Obama be rolled back.

You can read the bill here; the Cuba language is on pages 70 & 156. Or read these excerpts:

  • SEC. 193. None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to facilitate new scheduled air transportation originating from the United States if such flights would land on, or pass through, property confiscated by the Cuban Government, including property in which a minority interest was confiscated, as the terms confiscated,  Cuban Government, and property are defined in paragraphs (4), (5), and (12)(A), respectively, of section 4 of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity 6 (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 (22 U.S.C. 6023 (4), (5), and 7 (12)(A)): Provided, That for this section, new scheduled air transportation shall include any flights not already regularly scheduled prior to March 31, 2015.
  • SEC. 414. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used by the Federal Maritime Commission or the Administrator of the Maritime Administration to issue a license or certificate for a commercial vessel that docked or anchored within the previous 180 days within 7 miles of a port on property that was confiscated, in whole or  in part, by the Cuban Government, as the terms confiscated, Cuban Government, and property are defined in  paragraphs (4), (5), and (12)(A), respectively, of section 4 of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 (22 U.S.C. 6023).

To further understand the bill, here’s a summary from Bloomberg:

  • The bill would prohibit funding to facilitate new flights to Cuba that would land on or pass through property confiscated by the Cuban government. It would apply to flights not already regularly scheduled before March 31. It also would bar the Federal Maritime Commission or the Maritime Administration from using funds to license a commercial vessel that has docked within seven miles of a port located on property that was confiscated by the Cuban government.