Next Trade Subcommittee Chairman May Disappoint Advocates Seeking Changes To Cuba Laws/Regulations

For the 116th Congress, The Honorable Bill Pascrell (D- New Jersey) will likely become Chairman of the Subcommittee on Trade of the Committee on Ways and Means of the United States House of Representatives. 

Dec 17, 2014- Press Release  

Paterson, NJ – Today, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) issued the following statement regarding the U.S. – Cuba relationship. 

“Today’s news is certainly momentous, especially for those of us who lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis and witnessed the decades of oppression the Cuban people faced at the hands of the Castro regime. That oppression continues to this day, evidenced by the imprisonment of Alan Gross for doing nothing more than attempting to provide humanitarian aid to the Cuban people. I’m very pleased that after more than five years and deteriorating health, Alan will be coming home to his family. 

I have many questions about the President’s announcement. It is clear that our 50-year long embargo of Cuba has failed to bring about the change we desired to free the Cuban people from an oppressive regime.  However, I share the concern of Senator Menendez and others that the quick normalization of relations that the President envisions are only rewarding the Cuban government for decades of bad behavior and gross violations of human rights. I will be monitoring these developments closely and must insist that any opening of relations comes side-by-side with an opening of the Cuban government's political system from totalitarianism to one that respects democracy, human rights, and personal freedoms -- that is the only Cuba we can recognize. 

This is a moment for US-Cuban relations and today we say yes to the potential for change, but we must say no to an immediate halt of sanctions on Cuba.” 

About Subcommittee On Trade: 

“The jurisdiction of the Subcommittee on Trade shall include bills and matters referred to the Committee on Ways and Means that relate to customs and customs administration including tariff and import fee structure, classification, valuation of and special rules applying to imports, and special tariff provisions and procedures which relate to customs operation affecting exports and imports; import trade matters, including import impact, industry relief from injurious imports, adjustment assistance and programs to encourage competitive responses to imports, unfair import practices including antidumping and countervailing duty provisions, and import policy which relates to dependence on foreign sources of supply; commodity agreements and reciprocal trade agreements involving multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations and implementation of agreements involving tariff and non-tariff trade barriers to and distortions of international trade; international rules, organizations and institutional aspects of international trade agreements; budget authorizations for the customs revenue functions of the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. International Trade Commission, and the U.S. Trade Representative; and special trade-related problems involving market access, competitive conditions of specific industries, export policy and promotion, access to materials in short supply, bilateral trade relations including trade with developing countries, operations of multinational corporations, and trade with non-market economies.  Source: Rules of the Committee on Ways and Means”