Senate to hold ‘robust’ hearings on Obama’s Cuba policy

HERSHEY, Pa. — Sen. Bob CorkerBob CorkerGlobal climate pact may bump into Senate roadblock GOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election Trump appoints fundraiser to national security advisory council MORE (R-Tenn.), Foreign Relations Committee chairman, said Thursday he plans to hold intensive hearings to examine President Obama’s decision to ease sanctions on Cuba.

“What you’re going to see in the Foreign Relations Committee is a robust set of hearings around all of this. Not just the issue of the administration’s policies but the embargo itself. This has not been top of mind,” Corker said at the joint Senate-House Republican retreat at the Hershey Lodge.

Cuba has been a relatively low priority for the Foreign Relations panel as it has focused on Iran, Syria, Ukraine and China in recent months.

Obama thrust U.S.-Cuba policy into the spotlight last month by announcing that he would begin to normalize relations.

The administration on Thursday announced the details of its new policy, which will allow qualified travelers to visit the island nation without applying for a license. American visitors will be allowed to spend unlimited amounts and use U.S. credit and debit cards.

Corker earlier this month questioned the effectiveness of the Cuba embargo.

"This is a policy ... that has not yielded the result we had hoped it would yield, obviously. I think that's pretty apparent," Corker said in conference call, according to USA Today.

On Thursday, Corker declined to say whether it should be repealed.

“That’s a legislative issue obviously and a much, much bigger step,” he said. “First thing I want to understand is what the administration is attempting to do, what the Castro administration is looking to do — behavioral change, in regard — and then we can look at the bigger policies.”