In the final negotiations on the year-end catch-all spending bill for the U.S. government, Rep. Diaz-Balart’s amendment was dropped, ending the most substantial effort to strengthen Cuba sanctions since President Obama took office (Herald, AP).
The amendment would have reinstated President Bush’s limits on Cuban American family visits and remittances, and it would have removed the authority of President Obama or any future president to modify those rules in any way. Absent a change in law, the Bush rules would have been frozen forever: one visit every three years, $1,200 limit on remittances, and both for immediate family only.
Credit President Obama for standing up for his policy and for defending his foreign policy prerogatives. He made his intentions clear without having formally to threaten a veto. With Christmas on the horizon, a final set of compromises took place. In this case, the House Republican leadership decided that this strange amendment was not worth the fight.