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Bipartisan Senate bill would end US Cuba travel ban

Bipartisan Senate bill would end US Cuba travel ban
A bipartisan bill to end all restrictions on travel by US citizens and legal residents to Cuba was introduced Thursday. The 'Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act' would repeal the ability to prohibit or regulate, directly or indirectly, travel to Cuba and transactions incident to such travel, such as banking transactions.

S. 299 was introduced by Sen. Jeff Flake, a Republican from Arizona.

'For 50 years, we have tried the current policy of prohibiting travel to Cuba, and it hasn’t worked. It’s time for something new: It’s time to allow Americans to travel freely to Cuba,' Flake said Thursday. 'I’m pleased to be joined by my colleagues from both sides of the aisle and I look forward to working with them to pass this long-overdue legislation.'

Flake said Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Mark Sanford (R-SC) plan to introduce a companion bill to S. 299 in the House of Representatives next week.

The American Society of Travel Agents applauded the legislation.

'ASTA has long believed that Americans ought to be allowed to travel across the globe without restriction, allowing them to act as ambassadors of freedom and American values abroad,' ASTA president and ceo Zane Kerby said. 'While the Administration’s recent actions on Cuba were a step in the right direction, it is Congress that needs to step up to the plate on travel freedom.'

Kerby praised the leadership from Senators Flake, Leahy and their bipartisan coalition, adding: 'We will do everything in our power to get this bill across the finish line.'