Today the House of Representatives is scheduled to consider at least one amendment to the FY2017 Financial Services & General Government appropriations bill that would deny funding for the Cuba travel ban. Originally, they were scheduled to also consider language to deny funding to prevent private sector financing for agricultural exports but the amendment is now not expected to be offered. Both amendments enjoyed strong bipartisan support, a remarkable feat in the increasingly divided House. The amendments, which also have the support of the U.S. Cuba Business Council and the National Association of Manufacturers, would still have to pass the Senate before becoming law—a difficult proposition that is significantly hampered by the likeliness of a Continuing Resolution to begin FY2017.
On a related development, this morning the U.S. Department of Transportation tentatively allocated the 20 daily flights to U.S. carriers to provide scheduled passenger services between the United States and Cuba. Of the 12 U.S. carriers that proposed scheduled passenger services to Havana, 8 received tentative awards, including American Airlines, JetBlue and United Airlines.
This week we are witnessing history as the blueprint for a new era of U.S.-Cuba relations.
Washington Watch is published weekly when Congress is in session. Published monthly during extended recess or adjournment.