US & World

GOP-controlled Senate panel votes to lift Cuba travel ban

Tourists from the United States are seen in old American cars in Havana in this April 6, 2015 file photo. A GOP-controlled Senate panel has voted to lift a decades-long ban on travel to Cuba, giving a boost to President Barack Obama's moves to ease travel restrictions and open up relations with the Castro-governed nation.
Tourists from the United States are seen in old American cars in Havana in this April 6, 2015 file photo. A GOP-controlled Senate panel has voted to lift a decades-long ban on travel to Cuba, giving a boost to President Barack Obama's moves to ease travel restrictions and open up relations with the Castro-governed nation.
YAMIL LAGE/AFP/Getty Images

A GOP-controlled Senate panel has voted to lift a decades-long ban on travel to Cuba, giving a boost to President Barack Obama's moves to ease travel restrictions and open up relations with the Castro-governed nation.

The Obama administration issued rules in January to significantly ease travel restrictions to Cuba and allow regularly scheduled flights for the first time.

The panel's 18-12 vote comes just days after the U.S. and Cuba formally ended more than a half-century of estrangement by re-establishing diplomatic relations cut off during the Cold War.

The Cuba legislation was added to a $21 billion measure funding the Treasury Department, which enforces the longstanding trade embargo.