Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio took the helm Wednesday of a subcommittee -- and promptly scheduled a hearing on on President Obama's new Cuba policy.
As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Western Hemisphere subcommittee, Rubio called for a hearing at 10 a.m. next Tuesday to "examine President Obama's changes to Cuba policy, and its implications for human rights in the island," according to a news release.
"Being from Florida, I've seen how events in the Western Hemisphere not only impact our state but our entire nation. For too long, Congress and the Administration have failed to prioritize our relations in this hemisphere." Rubio said in the statement.
"As chairman of the subcommittee, I will promote bold measures that improve U.S. economic and security interests by addressing the region's growing calls for transparent institutions, access to quality education, private sector competitiveness, and respect for political and economic freedom for all."
Rubio, who has been taking steps toward a potential presidential campaign, is also a member of three other Foreign Relations subcommittees.
Read his full statement after the jump.
RUBIO NAMED CHAIRMAN OF THE SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE’S WESTERN HEMISPHERE SUBCOMMITTEE
Panel will hold its first hearing next Tuesday regarding Cuba policy
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) was officially named today as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights and Global Women’s Issues. He will also be a member of the Subcommittee on East Asia, The Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy; the Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism; and the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy.
Rubio also announced the first hearing to be held in the Western Hemisphere subcommittee will be next Tuesday, February 3 at 10:00 a.m. EST. It will examine President Obama’s changes to Cuba policy, and its implications for human rights in the island.
In assuming this chairmanship, Rubio issued the following statement:
“Being from Florida, I’ve seen how events in the Western Hemisphere not only impact our state but our entire nation. For too long, Congress and the Administration have failed to prioritize our relations in this hemisphere. This lack of attention has kept us from seizing the opportunities of a rising middle class, emboldened tyrants and non-state actors to erode democratic values, allowed global competitors to deepen their influence in the continent, and diminished our ability to respond to the proliferation of transnational organized crime and the violence and instability associated with it.
“As chairman of the subcommittee, I will promote bold measures that improve U.S. economic and security interests by addressing the region’s growing calls for transparent institutions, access to quality education, private sector competitiveness, and respect for political and economic freedom for all.
“I look forward to advocating for closer ties with Canada, Mexico, and other regional partners such as Colombia as well as greater energy cooperation and trade. The subcommittee will be a platform for bringing light and solutions to rising problems in the hemisphere, such as growing inhospitality for individual freedoms, deteriorating security environments, lagging competitiveness, ineffective regional organizations, the need for political stability and economic prosperity in Haiti, and the promotion and support of democracy in places where individual freedoms are all but a dream, such as Cuba and Venezuela.
“I hope to also continue my work on the U.S. government’s efforts to promote democracy and advance human rights around the world, to support the fair and equitable treatment of women around the globe, and increase religious freedom. This is another set of issues that has far too often been neglected by this administration. I plan to continue to be a voice for the oppressed, whether they be in our own hemisphere or on the other side of the globe. I look forward to working to ensure that U.S. programs aimed at advancing these freedoms are effective and achieving results that are consistent with our values as a nation.
“I also intend to remain active on the East Asia and Pacific subcommittee by supporting our strong alliances in Asia and working to address the challenges confronting that vitally important region which will play a significant role in shaping the 21st century. It’s clear that American leadership has achieved a great deal in this region in recent decades, and now it’s important that we take none of our gains for granted and continue working with our allies to advance our security, economic and human rights agenda.”