Senators Rubio & Cruz Will Attempt To Block Cuba Provision In Farm Bill

By Liz Crampton
Politico Pro
06/27/2018 01:39 PM EDT

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said today he will block new amendments to the farm bill unless the Senate adopts provisions to prohibit taxpayer money from being used for trade promotion efforts in Cuba or from going to businesses owned by the Cuban military.

In a tweet, Rubio said: "I have decided to block the addition of any new amendments to #FarmBill until they either accept the Cruz amendment striking the use of taxpayer $ for promotions in #Cuba or they accept my amendment that prohibits taxpayer $ being spent at business owned by Cuban military."

Rubio's demand is a direct rebuttal of an amendment from Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) that would authorize U.S. trade promotion funds to be used to increase market access in Cuba for U.S. agricultural products. The amendment, approved at the Senate Agriculture Committee's markup earlier this month, would authorize funding through the USDA Market Access Program and the USDA Foreign Market Development Program, which fund overseas projects that build demand for U.S. farm goods.

The Senate began debating amendments this morning, and eighteen proposals were added to the latest iteration of the farm bill, S. 3042 (115). It was not clear when the bill would be brought up for a final vote.