Author: Omar Martinez
There is no time for suspense; we are so close to finally ending the unjust travel ban and embargo on Cuba. President Obama did his part last December by taking unprecedented steps to restore relations with Cuba. Now we need Congress to do their part.
On February 25, Cuba policy advocates from around the nation visited Capitol Hill to educate their members of Congress on three bills to end the travel ban and trade embargo on Cuba. We NEED your voice to increase the volume of this call to action!
While President Obama’s actions created a seismic shift in our country’s Cuba policy, only Congress has the power to officially change the law and end the embargo. That is why we need to take advantage of this HUGE opportunity and ensure that those trusted to represent us in Washington hold up their end of the bargain and listen to wishes of their constituents. Here are the bills we need you to support:
- S 299, a bipartisan bill to end the travel ban for ALL U.S. citizens, even tourists. Introduced in the Senate by Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). It is called the “Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015.” Other co-sponsors are: Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Thomas Carper (D-DE), Susan Collins (R-ME), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Michael Enzi (R-WY), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Jack Reed (D-RI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tom Udall (D-NM), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) .
- HR 664, a companion bill to S 299, a bipartisan bill to end the travel ban for ALL U.S. citizens, even tourists. Introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC 1) and Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA 2). Its title is “Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015.” It is identical to S 299. Additional co-sponsors are: Reps. Kathy Castor (D-FL 14), Jason Chaffetz (R-HT 3), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT 3), Sam Farr (D-CA 20), Barbara Lee (D-CA 13), Thomas Massie (R-KY 4), Charles Rangel (D-NY 13), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD 8), Mydia Velazquez (D-NY 7), and Peter Welch (D-VT).
- S 491, a bipartisan bill to lift the trade embargo on Cuba. Introduced in the Senate by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and five other senators: Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Patrick Leahy )D-VT), and Richard Durbin (D-IL). We expect there will be a companion bill in the House shortly.
Extraordinary action is called for to make extraordinary progress in ending the embargo. Will you make the extra effort TODAY to call your representative and two senators to ask them to co-sponsor these bills?
These three bills are collecting co-sponsors now. A significant number of co-sponsors, especially Republicans, will demonstrate Congress’ intent to end the embargo . . . and to FINALLY represent the will of the people. Your calls will echo the voices of citizens that made office visits on Wednesday in Washington, DC. Help us resonate our message loud and clear in the halls of Congress.