Washington, DC – Representatives Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Jim McGovern (D-MA), Chairman of the Rules Committee, issued the following statement in support of Amendment #137 to H.R. 8294, which funds the Treasury Department and its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), that would suspend enforcement of the prohibition on financing of agricultural sales to Cuba.

The amendment has previously been included in numerous pieces of legislation, including the Cuba Agricultural Exports Act, which had dozens of Republican cosponsors. It is identical to a bipartisan amendment submitted to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill in 2017:

“We strongly support this amendment to end the U.S. government’s prohibition on financing of agricultural sales to Cuba. This common-sense legislation, which has been supported from both sides of the aisle and by agriculture groups nationwide for well over a decade, would create thousands of farm jobs in the United States while providing desperately needed food at lower cost for the Cuban people.

“Today, Cuba faces its most devastating economic crisis in thirty years, forcing tens of thousands of Cuban people to spend hours in line waiting for food each and every day. In the past six months, we have seen a surge of Cubans fleeing to the U.S.-Mexico border. This amendment would help ease the economic burden by suspending U.S. farm export regulations and extending credit to Cuban food buyers for one year.

“Farmers across the United States have urged action to permit greater sales from the U.S. for years, and with hunger rising across Cuba, the time is right to enact a temporary suspension that would provide them new opportunities to expand their exports to this market of 11 million people. We are hopeful that both parties can once again come together and support this win-win amendment.”