Appropriations committee responds to Jay-Z, Beyonce Cuba trip
By KEVIN CIRILLI | 7/10/13 12:51 PM EDT
Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee are looking to limit
Jay-Z and Beyonce’s travel options.
A spending bill approved on Wednesday by one of the panel’s
subcommittees contains a provision that seeks to tighten travel
restrictions to Cuba, following the celebrity couples headline making
trip the communist country earlier this year.
“This is the Jay-Z, Beyonce Bill,” Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.), a member
of the House Appropriations Committee who opposes the provision, told
POLITICO. “Absolutely [it’s a response to the trip], and it’s playing to
the audience in Miami” — a reference to opponents of relaxing economic
and diplomatic relations with the island country.
The provision is part of a larger $17 billion financial services
spending bill that funds the operations of several agencies, including
the Treasury Department, which approved the cultural trip that included
Jay-Z and Beyonce. The department has said it approves the trips based
on their itinerary and not the specific travelers.
Panel Republicans said that’s too broad a policy and in response the
spending would restrict travel to Cuba to educational exchanges
involving academic study related to a degree program. So unless Jay-Z
and Beyonce are earning a degree — the Treasury Department wouldn’t have
been able to approve their trip.
Their trip “was an example of how the guidelines are not being
enforced,” Subcommittee Chairman Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.) told POLITICO.
“I think that if we’re going to say that we have this policy in place
that relates to travel in Cuba that it ought to be enforced and that
becomes a grey area where they’re probably not really following the
Serrano, an advocate for opening up relations with Cuba, said he has no
problems with the married celebrity couple’s anniversary trip, which
sparked criticism for what could be perceived as an endorsement of the
“The mistake they made was being seen in public, by that I mean they
being who they are walked down the street.,” he said. “We may consider
Cuba a closed society, but even it is – it’s not closed enough so they
don’t know who Jay-Z and Beyonce are.”
He added: “What you’re seeing here is the result of a successful trip
…isn’t it educational for a superstar in our country to go to Cuba and
say, ‘Look who we are?’”
Source: “Appropriations committee responds to Jay-Z, Beyonce Cuba trip –
Kevin Cirilli – POLITICO.com” –