Jay-Z has wielded a gigantic influence on the worlds of music, fashion, and business, and now the Roc-A-Fella mogul’s controversial trip to Florida is leaving an impact on international relations.
After Jay-Z and Beyonce paid a visit to the Communist island nation in April, critics assailed both the couple and the government for allowing the visit.
Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee are now crafting what’s being called the Jay-Z Bill, a spending bill that would tighten already stringent restrictions to Cuba. It would allow only educational exchanges involved academic study related to a degree program.
The Jay-Z Bill was slipped into a larger, $17 billion spending bill that provides funding to several agencies.
Ander Crenshaw, a Republican from Florida and subcommittee chairman, said the bill is necessary as the “guidelines are not being enforced.” Trips from the United States to Cuba must be sanctioned by the US Department of Treasury, and most that fall under cultural, academic, journalistic, or religious purposes get approved.
“I think that if we’re going to say that we have this policy in place that relates to travel in Cuba, that it ought to be enforced, and that becomes a grey area where they’re probably not really following the guidelines,” Crenshaw said.
But critics of the Jay-Z Bill say it’s nothing more than pandering to voters.
“This is the Jay-Z, Beyonce Bill,” said Rep. Jose Serrano, a Democrat from New York and member of the House Appropriations Committee. “Absolutely [it's a response to the trip], and it’s playing to the audience in Miami.”
Serrano has advocated for loosening restrictions to Cuba, and said the only mistake Jay-Z and Beyonce made on their anniversary trip was making it public.
Jay-Z has already responded to the fracas surrounding the trip, mentioning the political fallout in his song Open Letter. In the song he raps, “Politicians never did sh*t for me/Except lie to me” and suggests that President Obama told Jay-Z he could have been impeached because of the trip.