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 CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinKim Jong Un surprises with savvy power plays Overnight Energy: EPA moves to roll back chemical plant safety rule | NASA chief says humans contribute to climate change | Pruitt gets outside lawyer House lawmakers to unveil water resources bill on Friday 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 McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP lawmakers want Trump to stop bashing Congress Parkland father calls out Trump, McConnell, Ryan after Santa Fe shooting Overnight Finance: House rejects farm bill in conservative revolt | NAFTA deal remains elusive as talks drag on | Dodd-Frank rollback set for House vote 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 FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeTrump yuks it up to deflect Senate critics Overnight Defense: Senate confirms Haspel as CIA chief | Trump offers Kim 'protections' if he gives up nukes | Dem amendments target Trump military parade Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers target Chinese tech giants | Dems move to save top cyber post | Trump gets a new CIA chief | Ryan delays election security briefing | Twitter CEO meets lawmakers MORE (R-Ariz.) told NBC News after the speech.