Humanitarian Relief to Cuba Act

Bill Number: 
H.R. 6962
Bill Location: 
Date of Last Action: 
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Relevant Text: 

HR 6962 IH

110th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 6962

To facilitate the provision of humanitarian relief to Cuba.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

September 18, 2008

Mr. DELAHUNT (for himself, Mr. FLAKE, Mr. BERMAN, Mrs. EMERSON, Mr. MCGOVERN, Mr. LAHOOD, Ms. DELAURO, Mr. MORAN of Kansas, Mr. PAYNE, Mr. PAUL, Mr. FARR, Ms. HARMAN, and Mr. MEEKS of New York) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs

A BILL

To facilitate the provision of humanitarian relief to Cuba.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; FINDINGS.

(a) Short Title- This Act may be cited as the `Humanitarian Relief to Cuba Act'.

(b) Findings- Congress makes the following findings:

(1) Hurricane Gustav, which struck Cuba on September 1, 2008, was the worst hurricane to hit the island of Cuba in over 50 years. The Category Four storm displaced over 400,000 Cubans and damaged or destroyed 130,000 homes and caused severe damage to infrastructure.

(2) Hurricane Ike, which made landfall on Cuba on September 7, 2008, forced the evacuation of over 2,500,000 Cubans, damaged an additional 100,000 structures, and damaged local infrastructure.

(3) The number of Cubans left homeless is expected to reach 100,000, and the total economic losses of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike are expected to reach upwards of $10,000,000,000, with serious damage done to the island's agricultural industry.

(4) In the wake of past natural disasters, the United States eased restrictions to mobilize the generous spirit of many thousands of Americans by allowing humanitarian aid originating from the United States to be transported directly to Cuba to the benefit of the Cuban people.

(5) Allowing the people of the United States to assist the Cuban people in reclaiming their lives and livelihoods following a major natural disaster just 90 miles from the United States is an important aspect of United States national security and defense policy.

SEC. 2. EASING OF RESTRICTIONS ON TRAVEL TO CUBA FOR A PERIOD OF 180 DAYS.

(a) In General-

(1) FREEDOM OF TRAVEL FOR UNITED STATES CITIZENS AND CERTAIN OTHER PERSONS TO VISIT FAMILY MEMBERS IN CUBA- For the 180-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, the President may not prohibit or regulate, directly or indirectly--

(A) travel to or from Cuba by United States citizens or any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States with family currently residing in Cuba; or

(B) any of the transactions incident to such travel that are described in paragraph (2).

(2) TRANSACTIONS INCIDENT TO TRAVEL- The transactions referred to in paragraph (1) are--

(A) any transaction ordinarily incidental to travel to or from Cuba, including the importation into Cuba or the United States of accompanied baggage for personal or family use only;

(B) any transaction ordinarily incident to travel to or maintenance within Cuba, including the payment of living expenses and the acquisition of goods or services for personal and family use only; and

(C) any transaction ordinarily incident to the arrangement, promotion, or facilitation of scheduled and nonscheduled travel to, from, or within Cuba, including lodging and meals in an amount not to exceed the per diem amount authorized under chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code.

(b) Supersedes Other Provisions- This section supersedes any other provision of law, including section 102(h) of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 (22 U.S.C. 6032(h)).

(c) Effective Date- This section applies to actions taken by the President before the date of the enactment of this Act that are in effect on such date and to actions taken on or after such date during the 180-day period beginning on such date of enactment.

SEC. 3. EASING RESTRICTIONS ON REMITTANCES FOR A PERIOD OF 180 DAYS.

(a) In General- Except as provided in subsection (b), for the 180-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Treasury may not limit the amount of remittances to Cuba that may be made by any person who is subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, and the Secretary shall rescind, for such 180-day period, all regulations in effect on the date of enactment of this Act that so limit the amount of those remittances.

(b) Statutory Construction- Nothing in subsection (a) may be construed to prohibit the prosecution or conviction of any person committing an offense described in section 1956 of title 18, United States Code (relating to the laundering of monetary instruments), or section 1957 of such title (relating to engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specific unlawful activity).

SEC. 4. EASING RESTRICTIONS ON GIFT OR RELIEF PACKAGES FOR 180 DAYS.

(a) In General- Except as provided in subsection (d), for the 180-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, the President may not limit the size, quantity or frequency, or the carrying, transporting or shipping of personal gift items and relief supplies (not for sale or resale) that are eligible to be shipped through existing or new mechanisms established expressly for the delivery of such packages. Such items and supplies may be sent to Cuba by any person who is subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and the President shall rescind, for such 180-day period, all regulations in effect on the date of the enactment of this Act that so limit such items.

(b) Personal Gift Items- For purposes of this section, the term `personal gift items' includes goods intended to improve the daily life of the Cuban people, including clothing, medication, foodstuffs, personal hygiene items, and other daily necessities.

(c) Relief Supplies- For the purposes of this section, the term `relief supplies' means any item intended to provide temporary or permanent comfort or shelter to hurricane victims in Cuba, or intended to facilitate repairs to personal dwellings in Cuba damaged during the 2008 hurricane season.

(d) Statutory Construction- Nothing in subsection (a) may be construed to prohibit the prosecution or conviction of any person committing an offense described in section 1956 of title 18, United States Code (relating to the laundering of monetary instruments), or section 1957 of such title (relating to engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specific unlawful activity).