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Vote to lift Cuba travel ban put on hold

Backers of lifting the ban on travel to Cuba had been hoping for a favorable vote tomorrow out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, but chairman Howard L. Berman just called off the vote.

"It now appears that Wednesday will be the last day that Congress is in session before an extended district work period. That makes it increasingly likely that our discussion of the bill will be disrupted or cut short by votes or other activity on the House floor," the California Democrat said in a statement. "Accordingly, I am postponing consideration of H.R. 4645 until a time when the Committee will be able to hold the robust and uninterrupted debate this important issue deserves. I firmly believe that when we debate and vote on the merits of this legislation, and I intend for it to be soon, the right to travel will be restored to all Americans." 

The National Foreign Trade Council and USA*Engage had just sent out an email in support of the bill, which would lift restrictions on travel by American citizens to Cuba and U.S. agricultural and humanitarian exports to the country. Supporters had considered it the best chance at getting the travel ban lifted -- particularly if Republicans take control of the House in November and Miami Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen becomes committee chair.

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