Tuesday, June 5, 2007

2005 and 2003 Senate Voting Records


Voting in favor of an amendment to the Interior Appropriations bill offered by Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) to facilitate family travel to Cuba in humanitarian circumstances:
Biden, Clinton, Dodd, Hagel, Obama


S-950, the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act to end the travel ban. Among the 32 co-sponsors: Dodd, Hagel (non sponsors: Biden, Clinton)

Cuba Travel Amendment by Senators Enzi, Baucus, Craig and Dorgan to the Transportation/Treasury appropriations bill that would end funding for the travel ban. A motion to table the amendment failed 59-36 and the amendment itself passed on a voice vote. Voting against tabling, i.e. for travel: Biden, Clinton, Dodd, Hagel

Fred Thompson Violates Embargo While Attacking Michael Moore

[Fred] Thompson's work space looks just like what the home office of a successful politician or CEO should look like--though a little messier: a large desk, dark wood, leather furniture, lots of books and magazines and newspapers, a flat-screen TV, and box upon box of cigars--Montecristos from Havana.

The presence of the cigars and the absence of a press chaperone were clues that Thompson is taking a different approach to his potential candidacy. A campaign flack would have insisted on hiding the cigars.

“From the Courthouse to the White House: Fred Thompson auditions for the leading role” by Stephen F. Hayes The Weekly Standard



Richardson on Family Travel in Miami


"Richardson also favors making it easier for Cuban-Americans to visit family on the island and send money. Some exiles believe those contacts strengthen Fidel Castro's regime.

' I believe that would enhance family reunification and values,' he said. "

Miami Herald, Posted on May 30, 2007


Dodd and Obama Signed Letter Supporting Religious Travel

Christopher Dodd, Barack Obama and fifteen other senators signed a letter on March 8, 2006 to Secretary of Treasury Snow expressing concern about restrictions on travel by religious organizations.



Over the past several months, we have become aware that a number of long-established national U.S. religious institutions, who in the past have received licenses from the Office of Foreign Asset Control allowing them regular travel to Cuba to develop and maintain relations with church counterparts there, are now suddenly being denied their licenses for
reasons that do not appear well-founded. We are disturbed that OFAC appears to be defining what is and is not a religious organization -- in itself a precarious role for a U.S. Government agency -- and that its operating definition appears to be prejudiced against recognized, mainstream national religious institutions....

We understand the complicated political reality that exists between the United States and Cuban governments. However, we believe it is inappropriate and unacceptable for politics and government to serve as a hurdle and now as a barrier to faith-based connections between individuals. If anything, these connections foster greater religious
freedom in Cuba and contribute to a severely-lacking free-flowing exchange of ideas between the two countries.


Max Baucus
Michael Enzi
John Sununu
Jeff Bingaman
Byron Dorgan
Patrick Leahy
Ron Wyden
Dianne Feinstein
Edward Kennedy
Christopher Dodd
Tom Harkin
Mary Landrieu
James M. Jeffords
Barack Obama
Dick Durbin
Lincoln Chafee
Kent Conrad

2005 Votes on TV Marti

Clinton-Obama Differences Clear In Senate VotesRecords Can Be Baggage In Bids for White House

By Shailagh Murray
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 1, 2007; A01

One budget-related vote with broader political implications would have stripped funding for TV Marti, which beams television programming to Cuba, though the Cuban government jams the signal. Critics in Congress complain that the United States has spent almost $200 million on the failed effort and have targeted the program year after year.

Obama twice voted to cut off TV Marti funding, while Clinton supported maintaining it. Those votes will have resonance in Florida, which is a key primary state and may reschedule its 2008 primary date from March to February.

Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said the senator's opposition to TV Marti was primarily about cost. But within Florida's large Cuban exile population, one of the most powerful voting blocs in the state, Clinton's and Obama's stances ally them with distinct groups: the older hard-liners and a younger, more progressive group of second-generation Cuban Americans and more recent immigrants whose numbers are growing. Clinton "is going with the status quo," said Sergio Bendixen, a Miami-based pollster who specializes in Hispanic voters. Obama, he said, "is with the position of change."



Senator Dorgan's amendment, which would have eliminated funding for TV Marti.

"We fund broadcasts into Cuba on something called Radio Marti which are very effective. The Cuban people listen to Radio Marti. Of course, they can listen to Miami radio stations as well. But we also fund something called TV Marti, and we have done it for years. The Government of Cuba, of Fidel Castro, jams the signals. We have Fat Albert, an aerostat balloon up there thousands of feet in the air, and the American taxpayer is paying for a fancy studio down on the ground. And up through this cable to Fat Albert we actually send signals into Cuba, television signals that the Cuban people can't see. Traditionally, they have been broadcast from 3 to 8 in the morning, and they are systematically jammed."

On the Motion to table the Dorgan amendment, Senator Clinton voted YEA, along with Bayh, Biden, Kerry, Lautenberg, Lieberman, Bill Nelson, Ben Nelson, Harry Reid, Salazar, Sarbanes, Schumer and 53 Republicans. Senator Obama voted NAY along with Dodd and 31 other Democrats as well as Enzi and Sununu.

Dorgan amendment, again regarding Television Marti (see above) Senator Dorgan:

"The amendment I offer today is very simple. It is an amendment that will eliminate the $21 million in this appropriations bill for something called Television Martí and will instead use that $21 million to restore funding for the Peace Corps."

The vote on this amendment was the same as the one above (#3) except that Senator Corzine decided that it made sense to vote against it to lock up the Cuban vote in his gubernatorial race. Mary Landrieu did not vote.