If there was any confusion as to where Congress stood on Cuba, this week definitely put that to rest. From spending bills to legislation, a bipartisan coalition in Congress is pushing back against the Obama Administration.
On Wednesday, the House passed the Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) spending bill which included a provision prohibiting either agency from funding commercial transactions with the “Cuban military or intelligence service, or an immediate family member thereof.” Currently, White House regulations only make exceptions to “certain officials of the government or the Communist party.”
That same day, a bipartisan group of Senators led by Senator Marco Rubio (R–FL) introduced the Cuban Military and Transparency Act. Co-sponsoring the bill are Senators Tom Cotton (R–AR), Ted Cruz (R–TX), Cory Gardner (R–CO), Orrin Hatch (R–UT), Mark Kirk (R–IL), Bob Menendez (D–NJ), and David Vitter (R–LA).
It is not in the interest of the United States or the people of Cuba for the U.S. to become a financier of the Castro regime’s brutality. The Cuban Military Transparency Act would prevent U.S. dollars from getting into the hands of the Cuban military and would demand accountability from the Obama Administration regarding fugitives of American justice in Cuba, the return of stolen and uncompensated property and the role of the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and the Ministry of the Interior in Cuba.
Support for stricter sanctions was echoed the following day when the House approved the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development spending bill, banning the Federal Aviation Administration, Maritime Administration, and the Federal Maritime Commission from approving new landing and docking areas on confiscated lands in Cuba.
It has been almost six months since the President announced his radical Cuba policy shift. Since then, we have been consistently reminded of just how bad of a deal the White House negotiated for the U.S. In less than six months, President Obama has given Havana three convicted spies, drastically eased sanctions, lobbied Congress to lift the embargo, and removed Cuba from the State Sponsor of Terrorism list. While Congress still has more to do, such as maintaining the embargo and the Guantanamo Bay naval base, this week proved just how unpopular the President’s new Cuba policy is.