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US Senators Move to Lift Cuba Trade Embargo

A Jan. 19, 2015 photo shows the Cuban and US flags waving from the balcony of the Hotel Saratoga in Havana.

A group of Democratic and Republican U.S. senators introduced a bill on Thursday seeking to lift the half-century-old trade embargo against Cuba, nearly two months after President Barack Obama announced moves toward normalizing relations with the Communist-ruled island nation.

The legislation seeks to repeal provisions of previous laws that prevent Americans from doing business with Cuba, but does not repeal portions of laws addressing human rights or property claims against Cuba's government, the measure's sponsors said.

U.S. lawmakers who back more normal relations with Cuba are preparing a series of bills seeking to ease U.S. restrictions on travel and trade with Cuba.

A bill aimed at ending legal restrictions on Americans' travel to Cuba was introduced last month.

The bills will face some strong opposition in Congress, but supporters said they wanted to at least generate debate on U.S.-Cuba policy. Even if the standalone measures fail in the Senate and House of Representatives, they may be included later this year as provisions of larger appropriations bills.

Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar is the lead sponsor of the bill unveiled on Thursday. The bill's co-sponsors include Republican Senators Jeff Flake and Mike Enzi, as well as Democrats Patrick Leahy, Richard Durbin and Debbie Stabenow.

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