We Won! Cuba family travel is saved

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So there is no suspense, you did it! Through your calls and emails, forwarding of the action alert, and commitment to retaining unrestricted travel to Cuba for families, the Diaz-Balart policy rider has been removed. President Obama’s regulations allowing the reunification of Cuban families stands firm—and without government interference.

DC wouldn’t be what it is without power struggles, complicated and indiscernible Hill jargon and impending government shutdowns. But what we have never witnessed before in the nation’s capitol is a hold placed on the funding of the entire U.S. government over the right for Cuban-American families to travel and see their relatives in Cuba. Here’s what happened:

As of 1:45 PM today (Thursday, December 15), the National Journal  broke news that the House Appropriations Committee, chaired by Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), has agreed to “reopen the pending nine-bill spending package and rewrite language that sought to reinstate the Bush-era travel ban to Cuba, a move designed to address White House concerns and win the backing of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, according to senior Republican and Democratic staffers. Republicans said Rogers was reluctant to make the move and is doing so with the understanding from Reid that if the Cuba travel and gift language is dropped and Obama’s existing travel policy is protected, Reid will release the conference report for full House and Senate consideration.”

This means that President Obama has placed ALL of his power behind supporting Cuban-American  families. And he could not have been able to leverage all of that power without the thousands of people who visited the White House comment line, left messages, or sent emails telling him not to sign an appropriations bill that would restrict family travel for Cuban Americans. The President deserves our kudos and gratitude. It was a courageous stand.

Here’s the announcement with the final decision

Besides celebrating – and carrying through with the many plans for family reunions in Cuba – Click here to send a message of thanks to President Obama!

We love working with you, and we appreciate the tremendous response you made to our request for action. Beyond that, we wish you a happy holiday and the energy to continue this work in 2012 until all U.S. citizens have the unrestricted right to travel to whenever we wish.