On Wednesday, July 10, a spending bill was approved by the House Appropriations Committee. It was dubbed “The Jay-Z, Beyonce Bill” by Rep. Jose Serrano, who opposes a provision in the bill meant to enhance restrictions on travel to Cuba.
“Absolutely [it’s a response to the Jay-Z & Beyonce trip], and it’s playing to the audience in Miami,” Serrano shared with Politico.
The $17 billion bill which features this provision would likely restrict travel to Cuba to educational purposes related to a degree program.
Subcommittee Chairman Ander Crenshaw, a supporter of the bill, expressed concern about the couple’s trip to Cuba.
The trip taken by Jay-Z and Beyonce earlier this year “was an example of how the guidelines are not being enforced,” Crenshaw 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 guidelines.”
Serrano, who backs the trip and opening relations with Cuba, has supported Jay and Bey.
“The mistake they made was being seen in public, by that I mean they being who they are walked down the street.,” he explained. “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.”
“What you’re seeing here is the result of a successful trip,” Serrano added. “Isn’t it educational for a superstar in our country to go to Cuba and say, ‘Look who we are?’”
The couple’s trip to Cuba was reportedly licensed by the US Treasury Department. Soon after images surfaced of their trip, Jay-Z and Beyonce were criticized for it due to the United States’ history and relations with Cuba. President Obama distanced himself from the controversy but also joked about it at the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner, saying he has “99 problems and now Jay-Z one.” Jay himself addressed criticism on “Open Letter,” a track leaked soon after his trip to Cuba.