STAMFORD, Conn. — The Republicans deep antipathy for Barack Obama is preventing a vote to lift the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba — even in the wake of the president's historic visit to the island nation, a U.S. senator from Connecticut said Tuesday.
Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said Republicans have shown no signs of changing their minds on the embargo as long as Obama is in office.
"The Republicans in Congress seem pretty intent — at least for the duration of President Obama's term — of continuing the embargo," Murphy said before speaking to the Stamford Rotary Club on Tuesday.
Obama called on Congress to lift the decades-old trade embargo during a speech in Cuba on Tuesday. The United States has imposed economic sanctions on the communist island state since 1962.
Murphy believes there are enough votes in Congress to lift the embargo. But he said that Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan don't want to give Obama a foreign policy success.
"I don't think that Mitch McConnell or Paul Ryan are going to bring that up for a vote in the Senate because it would be a foreign policy victory for the president — at least it would be perceived that way — and that doesn't seem to be on their agenda these days," Murphy said with a laugh.
But Murphy said he is in favor of removing the embargo against Cuba.
"We should lift the embargo," Murphy said. "It's a remnant of the Cold War that has no practical benefit for the United States any longer."
He said the embargo could be released in stages with conditions attached to ensure that Cuba adheres to democratic values going forward.
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