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 CardinSenate braces for fallout over Supreme Court fight Democrats step up calls that Russian hack was act of war Making water infrastructure a priority 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 McConnellThe Hill's 12:30 Report Scarborough: Bannon trying to ‘help his falling standing’ in WH Hatch: I may retire if Romney runs to replace me 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 FlakeWounded Ryan faces new battle Overnight Tech: High court hears case on where patent suits are filed | House to vote on blocking internet privacy rules | Facebook's new tools for voters House to vote Tuesday on blocking Obama internet privacy rules MORE (R-Ariz.) told NBC News after the speech.