Congress Ready to End Cuba Travel Ban: Senators

Lawmakers believe time has come for bipartisan bill to end 50-year-old travel ban
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2009 5:47 AM CDT
A police officer walks past a double-decker tourist bus in Havana, Wednesday, March 11, 2009.    (AP Photo/Javier Galeano)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – A bipartisan group of senators has introduced a bill that would allow Americans to travel freely to Cuba for the first time in nearly 50 years, the Miami Herald reports. Previous efforts have been shot down by conservatives and anti-Castro Cuban-Americans, but the lawmakers say momentum is on their side under the new administrations in both countries.

"I think there's sufficient votes in both the House and the Senate to finally get it passed," said Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), the bill's chief sponsor. Experts estimate that 3 million Americans would travel to Cuba yearly if the ban was lifted, generating up to $1.6 billion for US-based travel companies. Congressional opponents who say the move would only enrich the Castro regime have promised a bitter fight.