Congressman Jose Serrano Issues Statement on Easing of Sanctions Against Cuba

Congressman Jose Serrano, 15th Congressional District

Congressman Jose Serrano, 15th Congressional District

U.S. Congressman José E. Serrano, a longtime advocate of ending the embargo against Cuba, released the following statement today in response to the publication of regulatory amendments that implement the easing in travel, remittances, trade, and banking sanctions on Cuba announced by President Obama last month.

The new regulations, announced recently by the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Commerce, took effect on January 16th.

“These regulatory amendments announced today legally implement the historic changes announced by President Obama last month to ease some of the restrictions that prevent the American people, businesses, and government officials from engaging with Cuba. Thanks to this much-needed update in our laws, there will be more and better opportunities for Americans and Cubans to interact, send remittances, and engage in commercial activities. This activity, in turn, will support economic prosperity, entrepreneurship, and openness in the island. With this change, we are one step closer to having in place a sensible, common sense policy towards Cuba.”

Congressman Serrano is currently Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Financial Services Subcommittee, which oversees the Department of Treasury including the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). OFAC has jurisdiction over most of the regulations announced today.

During his 24 years in Congress, Congressman Serrano has consistently advocated for a change in U.S.-Cuba relations and an end to the Cuba embargo. Throughout the years, he has introduced various pieces of legislation with respect to Cuba, including the Cuba Reconciliation Act, which repeals the U.S. embargo, and the Baseball Diplomacy Act. In 2009, Congressman Serrano inserted language in the House Appropriations bill that rolled back the restrictions on family travel that were implemented by the Bush administration. He also worked to roll back restrictions on agricultural trade between the two nations in the same bill. Thanks to his efforts, the groundwork was laid for President Obama to take further action to expand family travel later that year. More recently, he has successfully fought against attempts to reinstate more restrictive travel policies in the Appropriations process.