U.S. Republican senator wants Congress to vote on Cuba travel bill

Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) questions Supreme Court nominee judge Neil Gorsuch during his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 21, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senator Jeff Flake, one of the Republican Party’s most vocal advocates for easing restrictions on U.S. dealings with Cuba, on Friday called on congressional leaders to allow a vote on legislation lifting restrictions on American travel there.

“It is time Senate leadership finally allowed a vote on my bipartisan bill to fully lift these archaic restrictions which do not exist for travel by Americans to any other country in the world,” Flake, of Arizona, said, as President Donald Trump announces a clampdown on U.S. travel and trade with the island.

The “Freedom for Americans to Travel to Cuba Act,” led by Flake and Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, of Vermont, is co-sponsored by 55 senators. Flake said he thought it could get 70 votes in the 100-member Senate if the chamber’s Republican leaders allowed a vote.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe