The House Agriculture Committee passed legislation to expand U.S. agriculture trade and increase jobs, approving historic legislation that will greatly expand trade and travel to Cuba. The opening of trade to Cuba has been supported by American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) as well as the National Tour Association (NTA), among other travel groups. The House Democratic leadership will now decide whether to send it to the House floor for a vote.
H.R. 4645, the Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act, is a bipartisan bill introduced by Chairman Peterson and co-sponsored by 62 Members of Congress. The bill passed the Committee by a vote of 25-20.
"I am proud to say that today, the House Agriculture Committee took a courageous vote to end the short-sighted and failed policy that limits American agriculture's access to the Cuban market." Chairman Peterson said. "An unprecedented coalition of agriculture, business, religious and social organizations have endorsed H.R. 4645, and today's vote demonstrates that Congress is ready to change our nation's approach on this issue."
Approximately 140 groups have expressed strong support for H.R. 4645, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Farmers Union, American Farm Bureau Federation, and Human Rights Watch. The House Agriculture Committee also received a letter signed by more than 70 pro-democracy Cuban leaders that strongly encouraged passage of H.R. 4645.