Jim Hickey’s American Politics

Let's Get Real.

Options Available to the GOP to Counter Obama’s Attempt to Normalize Relations with Cuba

GOP leaders are mulling over what options to take over the president’s surprise attempt to normalize relations with Cuba ending Kennedy-era sanctions that have remained in place for 53 years. Thus far, the president has only nibbled away at the sanctions in a rare show of regard for existing laws already in place. In the past, the president has arbitrarily assigned new applications for existing laws that allow him to take actions well outside the scope of the original law. Several months ago, he reinterpreted an Eisenhower-era law on purchasing supplies and other materials at the federal level to justify an increase in the federal minimum wage as it applies to contract workers. Congress has not authorized any increase in the federal minimum wages in years. 

As for Cuban foreign policy, the president will now allow Americans to traveling to the nation to use debit cards, and allow Americans to send money to relatives living in Cuba. He admits that any further easing of sanctions will require Congressional action. 

The GOP is considering stripping funding from the State Department’s budget to prevent the construction of a US Embassy in Cuba. Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a Cuban-American, vowed to block the president’s nominee to fill the post of Cuban Diplomat. The party is also looking at other measures to defund the president’s ambitious new Cuban foreign policy. The president conducted the negotiations in secret without ever informing the Congress. Don’t break your backs and call North American Spine over this decision, we’ll have to see how it plays out.

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