An Agreement on Tougher Cuba Legislation

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WASHINGTON D.C.: President Clinton and the Republican Congress have reached an agreement on aggressive legislation punishing Cuba for shooting down two civilian planes. The President had threatened to veto a similar bill last fall just last fall, but abruptly changed course after Saturday's attack. The 'Libertad' bill permits Americans to sue foreign companies that invest in Cuban property that has been confiscated from its owners and shuts down U.S. aid. The measure's Republican sponsors say the bill will strangle Castro's regime, cutting off foreign capital. Senator Claiborne Pell, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee disagrees, saying it could "alienate our allies" as well as causing a logjam in the courts. The Administration's sudden shift reveals an eye on the upcoming elections as well as sensitivity to Republican calls for sweeping measures and accusations that Clinton is "soft on Castro." The bill, which has strong congressional support, is expected to speed through the House and Senate for approval early next week.