Dems schedule vote on Peterson’s Cuban trade, tourism bill

WASHINGTON — Rep. Collin Peterson said last week that the only way his bill to lift the Cuban travel embargo could clear the House Foreign Services Committee was if Chairman Howard Berman knew he had the votes to pass it.

At that moment, the votes weren’t there. Today, they might be.

Berman’s committee today announced that Peterson’s bill, which would also ease restriction on agricultural exports to the communist island nation, will be taken up next week Wednesday, on Sept. 29. (A full report on the bill’s contents is available here)

Peterson has said his measure has enough support to clear the House if it gets an up-or-down vote — and that Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised she’d bring the bill to the floor if it clears Berman’s committee. The most likely time for that vote would be in a post-election, lame duck session.

However, the bill’s passage is far from certain, as New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, who is of Cuban descent, has pledged to filibuster the measure if it gets to the Senate floor.

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