November 06,2003

Senators Press Appropriators to Retain Provisions Eliminating Cuba Travel Ban

Baucus, Enzi, Craig, and Dodd Send Letter to Treasury-Transportation Conferees

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) A group of U.S. Senators who have been leading the fight to allowAmericans to travel to Cuba and open borders between the two countries, today sent a letter to Houseand Senate Appropriation conferees stating that provisions to lift the travel ban must remain in the finalbill that is sent to the President's desk.

Senators Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Larry Craig (R-Idaho) and ChristopherDodd (D-Conn.) today insisted that the Cuba provisions remain in the fiscal year 2004 Treasury-Transportation bill throughout conference negotiation or the group will "consider all parliamentaryoptions available to us to respond…"

"I am disappointed that we even have to contact the Appropriators about maintaining the Cubaprovisions since it should be a non- issue," Baucus said. "Suspending enforcement of the Cuba travelban passed the Senate by a wide bipartisan margin and passed the House by a wide bipartisan margin.

There is absolutely no reason the provision should be removed from the Treasury-TransportationAppropriations bill. To do so would be a direct act against the will of a majority of Congress andmajority of Americans."

Last month, the Sena te voted 59-36 to include an amendment to the FY04 Treasury-Transportation Appropriations bill that would eliminate funding that goes toward the enforcement ofthe Cuba travel ban. The House included the same amendment in September by a vote of 227-188.In addition, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee will be holding a mark-up to vote onS. 950, a bill to lift the Cuba travel ban, later today.

Baucus has been playing a leading role in pushing Congress and the Administration toreexamine America's policy toward Cuba, stating that 40 years of embargo have done nothing toimprove Cuba's political climate or help the Cuban people. Earlier this year, Baucus introducedlegislation that would seek to lift the trade embargo against Cuba, and remove travel restrictionsbetween the U.S. and Cuba. In addition, Baucus helped establish the “Senate Working Group onCuba" and traveled to Cuba in September to meet with leader's of the Cuban dissident movement andpolitical and business leaders.

Full text of joint Baucus-Enzi-Craig-Dodd letter follows:

November 5, 2003
The Honorable Richard Shelby
The Honorable Patty Murray
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on
Transportation, Treasury and General Government

Dear Senators Shelby and Murray,

We respectfully request that you fully support inclusion of the Craig-Dorgan amendment to suspendenforcement of the Cuba travel ban in the FY’04 Transportation-Treasury Appropriations conferencereport. As co-sponsors of the amendment, we worked very hard to achieve Senate approval of thishistoric measure, and will do all in our power to ensure its enactment.

As you know, the Craig-Dorgan amendment passed the Senate by a 59-36 margin. The sameamendment was approved in the House by a vote of 227-188. These margins of support reflect a clearand undeniable statement of policy by Congress. Since both Houses of Congress have passed the sameamendment, there is nothing for the conferees to reconcile.

We realize that there will be attempts to remove the Cuba provisions in conference, and we thereforewant to make our views on this issue very clear. If the conferees produce a conference report thatexcludes our amendment, we will consider all parliamentary options available to us to respond to thateventuality.

Thank you for the opportunity to present our position, and we look forward to working with you onthis important matter.


Senator Larry E. Craig
Senator Max BaucusSenator Mike Enzi
Senator Chris Dodd
Cc: Chairman Ted Stevens 
Senator Robert Byrd
Majority Leader Bill 
Frist Minority Leader Tom Daschle
Senator Arlen Specter 
Senator Barbara Mikulski
Senator Christopher Bond 
Senator Harry Reid
Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell 
Senator Herb Kohl
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison 
Senator Richard Durbin
Senator Mike DeWine 
Senator Byron Dorgan
Senator Sam Brownback 
Rep. Dave Obey
Chairman Bill Young 
Rep. John Olver
Rep. Ernest Istook 
Rep. Steny Hoyer
Rep. Frank Wolf 
Rep. Ed Pastor
Rep. Jerry Lewis 
Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick
Rep. Harold Rogers 
Rep. James Clyburn
Rep. Todd Tiahrt 
Rep. Steve Rothman
Rep. Anne Northup
Rep. Robert Aderholt
Rep. John Sweeney
Rep. John Culberson