Monday, July 04, 2005

Cuba Embargo Comes up in Interior Appropriations

After spending merely two days on debate, the Senate passed the Department of Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2005. Although the final bill did not drastically change the current funding level of the Interior, as might be expected with President Bush's calls to cut spending, there were numerous interesting amendments that came up during the two days of debate.
One of them represented the annual attempt by Democrats to ease relations with Cuba. This time it was an amendment by Senator Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota) that would have facilitated travel to Cuba in the instance of "humanitarian circumstances". Although the amendment was not officially rejected, the supporters of the provision motioned to "suspend the rules" on the amendment, meaning that for some reason they could not vote of the amendment due to a procedural block. However, in order to suspend the rules, a 2/3 majority was needed, and the motion failed. The supporters have a diverse membership, including the vast majority of democrats as well as some of the most conservative Republicans in the Senate such as Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Michael Enzi and Craig Thomas of Wyoming, and Jon Kyl of Arizona. While most Republicans dissented, several democrats in traditionally liberal Senators Frank Lautenberg and John Corzine of New Jersey, as well as conservative Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska. Most importantly, the Democratic leader, Harry Reid also voted Nay. This is a link to an interesting blog owned by a liberal who works for the Latin America Working Group, a lobby that works to open relations with Cuba.


At 3:00 PM, Blogger wfoley said...

For more on this subject, you might check out this blog:
It's run by Philip Schmidt, a talented staffer at Latin America Working Group

At 10:47 AM, Blogger Phil said...

The funny thing about this bid to end the Cuba travel embargo is that the Senate has taken up the issue and begun to pass legislation easing it, just as the House effort has fallen apart. They had their chance 2 years ago when both passed the same travel ban-ending language in the Treasury/Transportation Approps bill and the senators didn't fight the leadership when they stripped out the language. Idiotas.


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