By Jordain Carney - 01/12/16 10:38 PM EST
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."
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 CardinDems to Clinton: Ignore Trump on past scandals Senate GOP ties Iran sanctions fight to defense bill Lawmakers push to elevate Cyber Command in Senate defense bill 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 McConnellIn House GOP, Ryan endorsement of Trump seen as inevitable McConnell: Trump White House will have ‘constraints’ Nearly 400 House bills stuck in Senate limbo 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 FlakeDem senators call for sanctions on Congo McCain urges sports leagues to return 'paid patriotism' money Overnight Tech: House GOP launches probe into phone, internet subsidies MORE (R-Ariz.) told NBC News after the speech.