Last updated: 03:08 PM ET, Thu June 04 2015

House Votes to Block Obama's Easing of Travel Restrictions to Cuba

Destination & Tourism | David Cogswell | June 04, 2015

House Votes to Block Obama's Easing of Travel Restrictions to Cuba

Photo by David Cogswell

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives defeated a proposal to strip language from a transportation funding bill that would prevent licensing of new flights or cruises to Cuba. As it now stands, the bill would block President Obama’s attempts last December to relax restrictions on travel to Cuba via executive order.

Today’s vote defeated an amendment proposed by Rep. Barbara Lee, a Democrat of California, to nullify an earlier amendment proposed by Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Republican of Florida, blocking new flights or cruise departures to Cuba and re-imposing the restrictions on travel that were eased by Obama.  

Lee’s attempt to pull the Diaz-Balart amendment from the transportation bill was defeated 176 to 247. The vote to defeat Lee’s amendment was not along strict party lines. It was supported by 18 Republicans and opposed by 26 Democrats.

The easing of trade restrictions with Cuba is supported by many industries and agricultural organizations eager to open new markets in Cuba to American business.

President Obama threatened to veto the transportation bill if it contained the restrictions on Cuba as well as cuts to public safety and passenger rail provisions. To override a veto requires a two-thirds majority, 290 votes.

The transportation bill is a $55.3 billion package that funds the Department of Transportation as well as the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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