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 CardinIt's time to make access to quality kidney care accessible and equitable for all Charity game lets users bet on elections Progressives push back on decision to shrink Biden's paid family leave program 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 McConnellBiden says he's open to altering, eliminating filibuster to advance voting rights Pelosi says GOP senators 'voted to aid and abet' voter suppression for blocking revised elections bill Manchin insists he hasn't threatened to leave Democrats 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 FlakeFlake donating unused campaign funds to Arizona nonprofit focused on elections: report Biden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Biden to nominate Jane Hartley as UK ambassador: report MORE (R-Ariz.) told NBC News after the speech.