Last updated: 04:06 PM ET, Sat June 18 2016

Senate Panel: Allow Americans to Travel to Cuba

Impacting Travel | Amy Coyne Bredeson | June 18, 2016

Senate Panel: Allow Americans to Travel to Cuba

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After a 50-year-old U.S. ban on travel and trade with Cuba, now students, missionaries and Cuban-Americans are allowed to travel to the Caribbean island nation. American tourists, however, are not. 

An amendment approved Thursday by the Senate Appropriations Committee could change that, USA Today reported.

The top Democrat on the committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont criticized the U.S. for allowing travel to North Korea, Syria and Iran but restricting it to Cuba, USA Today said.

READ MORE: How Hot is Travel To Cuba Right Now?

Leahy told the newspaper that his amendment with Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas “would make it possible for Americans to travel to Cuba without the interference of their own government.”

In a statement obtained by The Times Record, U.S. Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas called the travel ban outdated and inconsistent. 

READ MORE: Individual Travel in Cuba Comes of Age

"I believe the way you change the world is through personal relationships,” Boozman said in the statement. “If we are serious about bringing real change to Cuba, we need to expose the Cuban people to our democratic ideals. (Allowing) U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba will promote American ideals and free-market principles."

The amendment still needs to go through the House before it is put in the final version of the financial services bill, USA Today reported.

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