Baucus Disturbed by Actions of Treasury -Transportation Conferees; Removal of Cuba Provisions Undemocratic
(WASHINGON, D.C.) U.S. Senator Max Baucus today expressed his extreme displeasure withthe actions of the fiscal year 2004 Treasury-Transportation appropriations conferees to removeCuba travel provisions from the funding bill. Baucus stated that these actions "violate the will ofCongress and set the stage for a fight when the bill comes to the floor."
Last month, Baucus joined a number of fellow Senators to include language in theTreasury-Transportation bill that would prevent enforcement of the Cuba travel ban. Theprovision passed by a solid majority -- 227-188 in the House, 59-36 in the Senate -- and shouldhave been protected throughout conference negotiations since the provision was included in boththe House and Senate funding bills.
Last week, Baucus sent a letter to House and Senate conferees urging them to protect the Cubaprovisions and stating that he would examine, "all parliamentary options available" if the Cuba languageis dropped from the bill. Sens. Larry E. Craig, Mike Enzi, and Chris Dodd also signed the letter.Baucus made the following statement today regarding the elimination of the Cuba travelprovisions:
"We have won votes in both the House and Senate on the issue of Cuba travel. For a fewindividuals in backroom negotiations to override the will of a majority of Congress sets a dangerous,undemocratic precedent and I plan to fight it when the conference report goes to the floor."
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