Obama calls for lifting Cuba embargo: 'The Cold War is over'

Obama calls for lifting Cuba embargo: 'The Cold War is over'

President Obama knocked Republicans on Tuesday night for slow-rolling his Cuba policy, saying they should lift a decades-long embargo because "the Cold War is over."

"Fifty years of isolating Cuba had failed to promote democracy, setting us back in Latin America," he said in the House chamber during his final State of the Union address. "You want to consolidate our leadership and credibility in the hemisphere? Recognize that the Cold War is over. Lift the embargo."

The Obama administration has battled with Republicans, and some Democrats, over the past year as it has restored diplomatic relations with the Cuban government.

While the administration has been able to ease some travel restrictions, Obama will need cooperation from lawmakers to lift the long-standing trade embargo.

Sen. Ben CardinBen CardinHouse bill would prevent Trump from lifting Russian sanctions Overnight Cybersecurity: White House does damage control on Flynn | Pressure builds for probe Will Cory Booker vote against America’s ambassador to Israel? MORE (D-Md.), the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, praised Obama for changing "the course of history" in U.S.-Cuban relations.

"Greater cooperation between Cuba and the United States will be possible as Cuba focuses on improving human rights and increasing personal freedoms on the island," he added in a statement.

While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellHow does placing sanctions on Russia help America? THE MEMO: Trump's wild first month Juan Williams: Senate GOP begins to push Trump away MORE (R-Ky.) has suggested that a Republican-controlled Congress won't support lifting the embargo, Obama's push drew praise from one GOP lawmaker.

"Well I liked a lot of it. He talked about Cuba, lifting the embargo," Sen. Jeff FlakeJeff FlakeOvernight Tech: GOP chairman to propose high-skilled visa overhaul | Zuckerberg's 5,700 word letter | Tech lobbies gear up ahead of internet fight Senate Dem blasts GOP for trying to repeal broadband privacy rules Planned Parenthood targets GOP lawmakers amid ObamaCare protests MORE (R-Ariz.) told NBC News after the speech.