Launch of the Bipartisan Cuba Working Groupby Representative Barbara Lee
Posted on 2015-12-17
LEE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for yielding and,
really, thank the Progressive Caucus for allowing me to use the
remainder of this time. Thank you for your very steady and clear and
very powerful leadership.
Let me say, Mr. Speaker, that today, myself and Congressman Farr, we rise to mark 1 year since President Obama's historic announcement that started the process of normalizing relations with Cuba. On December 17, 2014, the President took a very bold step to end more than five decades of failed policy and, instead, chart a new path for relations between the United States and our Cuban neighbors.
For more than half of a century, the United States pursued a shortsighted isolationist policy born of Cold War tensions. This policy was wrongheaded and ineffective. It alienated us from our allies and estranged us from one of our nearest neighbors.
Yet, through the President's persistence and very bold leadership, we are finally making some headway in reversing this, and Congress is finally beginning to catch up. Yesterday, I was proud to join nine of my colleagues, both Democrats and Republicans, in announcing the launch of a bipartisan Cuba Working Group that will promote a commonsense United States-Cuba policy that reflects the interests of the American people engaged with Cuba.
Mr. Speaker, I yield to my friend and colleague from Monterey, California (Mr. Farr), who has been such a leader on so many issues, but especially on ending the embargo and normalizing relations with Cuba. He understands that this is good for trade, that this is good for jobs in America, that this is good, basically, for our foreign policy, and it is in our national security interest that we normalize relations with Cuba.