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Senate panel OKs end of restrictions on travel to Cuba

The Senate Appropriations Committee voted 18-12 on Thursday to end restrictions on Americans travel to Cuba.

Four committee Republicans joined 14 Democrats to back the amendment.

The measure now moves to the full Senate.

Cuban citizen Armando (L) and U.S tourist Lisa Fragoso wave U.S flag while passing the U.S. Interests Section, in Havana July 20, 2015.
Reuters
Cuban citizen Armando (L) and U.S tourist Lisa Fragoso wave U.S flag while passing the U.S. Interests Section, in Havana July 20, 2015.

It became the first legislation to make it through any congressional committee to facilitate President Barack Obama's push to normalize relations with Cuba.

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On Monday, the Cuban Embassy in Washington reopened after being closed for 54 years. The agreement to restore formal diplomatic relations between the two countries was announced July 1 by Obama.

"Our efforts to isolate Cuba, despite our good intentions, increasingly had the opposite effect," Obama said.

Both the U.S. and Cuban governments indicated they were taking steps to normalize relations last December.

—Reuters contributed to this report.