For Immediate Release
Thursday, October 23, 2003

Contact: Beth Lee

Senate Passes Amendment to Ease Travel and Trade with Cuba: Hagel Cosponsors Amendment

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate today passed an amendment, cosponsored by U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE), that would ease travel and trade restrictions to Cuba. The amendment to the U.S. Transportation and Treasury Department Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2004 ensures that Americans doing business and studying in Cuba are not punished for traveling to the country.

"It does not serve U.S. interest to isolate ourselves from the people of Cuba. The current U.S. policy places our farmers, workers, and companies at an international competitive disadvantage. Nebraska’s agriculture producers should have open access to the Cuban market," Hagel said.

A motion to defeat the amendment failed in the Senate by a vote of 36-59. It was then adopted by voice vote. The Senate amendment includes language identical to that passed in the House appropriations bill. Along with Hagel, the amendment was cosponsored by Senators Max Baucus (D-MT), Michael Enzi (R-WY), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Larry Craig (R-ID), Chris Dodd (D-CT), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), and Pat Roberts (R-KS).

Earlier this year, Hagel cosponsored a bill to lift the travel ban to Cuba (S. 950). Hagel is also a member of the Senate Working Group on Cuba.