By Dawn Gable
HAVANA TIMES, Sept. 23 — The Cuba travel ban will be brought up Wednesday September 29, at the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, announced Chairman Howard L. Berman.
The bill, HR 4645, titled the Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act, is one of several pieces of legislation still pending before Congress that could free US citizens to visit Cuba but possibly the only viable one left at this point of the Obama administration.
The meeting, called a “Mark-up”, is open to the public and will also be available live at 12:00 noon (EST) via the Webcast link on the website at http://www.hcfa.house.gov.
The legislation would do away with the discrimination against non-Cuban Americans and allow everyone to visit family and friends on the island and enjoy Cuban culture and beaches. It would also streamline the sales of agricultural products to Cuba benefiting both nations’ economies.
The committee members will have the chance to discuss the bill publicly, offer amendments to it, and ultimately to vote on whether to allow the bill to proceed to the next step …or to kill it.
In the past, committee chairman Howard Berman, a strong supporter of improving relations with Cuba, said that he would not bring the bill up in his committee unless he had the votes to pass it.
However, even if the bill passes the committee intact, there are several more hurdles to go before it becomes a law…and time is running out with October recess coming soon, elections in November, and the New Year ringing in a new Congress that will throw out all unsettled business.