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Republican leaders objected strongly to a White House proposal to ease some economic sanctions on Cuba. According to a draft recommendation that took even the State Department by surprise, the Administration would lift a ban that blocks U.S. citizens from sending money to their families in Cuba, and loosen severe restrictions on travel to the island. Both measures were put in place by President Clinton during last summer's Cuban boatlift. GOP leaders quickly dug in their heels. Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole called the idea "a big mistake." House Speaker Newt Gingrich said U.S. officials "had better have a clear commitment from Castro to go to democracy before they start backing off." TIME White House correspondent James Carney says it's unclear just who's pushing the plan, but notes that some Administration officials believe that allowing more contact between Cubans and U.S. citizens would promote democratic interests in Cuba.