Congress Still Obsessed With Jay-Z and Beyonce's Cuba Trip

House subcommittee approves bill limiting Cuba travel

Beyonce, Jay-Z
Life is but a gauntlet of cranky lawmakers: Beyoncé and Jay-Z Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images
Marc Hogan WRITTEN BY
Marc Hogan

Somewhere in America, lawmakers are still getting worked up just thinking about Beyoncé and Jay-Z's wedding anniversary. As Politico reports, Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee are pushing a measure that would crack down on travel to Cuba. Not coincidentally, that's where the Magna Carta Holy Grail rapper and "Standing on the Sun" singer traveled earlier this year around their fifth anniversary.

A subcomittee of the House panel approved a spending bill earlier this week that includes a provision that would've blocked Jay-Z and Beyoncé's Havana jaunt. The $17 billion financial services spending bill covers various agencies, but one is the Treasury Department, which gave the two stars permission to visit Cuba. Republicans on the committee want to limit Cuba travel to students who need to go there as part of an academic degree. In other words, Jay-Z and Beyoncé couldn't have gone.

Democrats and Republicans both appear to agree the provision relates to the two pop stars. Jay-Z and Beyoncé's visit "was an example of how the guidelines are not being enforced," subcommittee chair Ander Crenshaw, a Florida Republican, told Politico. House Appropriations Committee member Jose Serrano, a New York Democrat, said, "This is the Jay-Z, Beyoncé Bill," and he contended that "it's playing to the audience in Miami." (Tough talk on Cuba is generally seen as a reliable way of attracting voters in south Florida.)

Republican lawmakers from south Florida first expressed outrage about the trip months ago, citing human rights concerns. Jay-Z brushed off such criticisms on the imperious "Open Letter," which he has said will be released as a playable "letter" via Jack White's Third Man Records. The outcry forced President Barack Obama to explain patiently that the White House "has better things to do" than pick who goes to Cuba. House Republicans, working on a, we repeat, $17 billion spending bill, apparently do not.

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