WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and Representative Tom Emmer announced today that they will join President Obama on his historic visit to Cuba on March 21st and 22nd. President Obama will be the first sitting president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. Klobuchar is the lead Senate sponsor on bipartisan legislation to lift the U.S. trade embargo with Cuba. Emmer is leading the effort in the House.
“Congressman Emmer and I are working on a bipartisan effort to lift the trade embargo with Cuba so that we can boost exports and create jobs in the United States. In Minnesota, exports to Cuba could double if the embargo were lifted,” said Klobuchar. “After more than 50 years of failed policy, it is time to change course with Cuba. Our historic visit later this month is a major step forward. The next step is for Congress to pass our bipartisan legislation to lift the trade embargo so that more U.S. goods can be exported to Cuba.”
“Expanding our markets, strengthening our national security, and improving relationships with our next door neighbor should be a nonpartisan issue,” said Emmer. “Minnesota is the third largest agricultural exporter in the country, and we have a great potential to benefit from millions of new consumers right here in our own backyard. While there is certainly further work that needs to be done to address human rights issues it is not a matter of if the embargo is lifted, but a matter of when and this bipartisan trip is certainly a step in the right direction.”
Klobuchar is leading the bipartisan Freedom to Export to Cuba Act—which currently has 23 Senate cosponsors. The bill lifts the current embargo and allows more U.S. goods to be exported to Cuba. The bill would eliminate the legal barriers to Americans doing business in Cuba, boosting job creation and exports. It does not repeal provisions of current law that address human rights in Cuba or that allow individuals and businesses to pursue claims against the Cuban government. Last week, Klobuchar called on the Departments of Treasury and Commerce to allow American hotels to operate in Cuba.
Emmer is leading the Cuba Trade Act of 2015. This legislation would lift the trade embargo between the United States and Cuba that has been in effect since 1960. This bill would allow for American companies to freely trade with Cuba without any taxpayer risk or exposure. Emmer is also a co-chair of the Cuba Working Group in the U.S. House.