Celebrity power couple Beyoncé and Jay-Z, who controversially visited Cuba earlier this year, might face tougher government restrictions on travel to countries considered U.S. adversaries if congressional Republicans get their way.
A bill that just made its way out of a House Appropriations subcommittee would limit the use of Department of Treasury funds to approve "travel-related or other transactions incident to non-academic educational exchanges" described in American legal restrictions on travel to Cuba.
Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.), an advocate for easing travel restrictions to Cuba, labeled the proposal the "Jay-Z and Beyoncé bill."
In April, Beyoncé and Jay Z visited Havana to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary. When the couple returned, a variety of groups and lawmakers criticized their choice of destination.
The federal government became involved when the Treasury Department announced it had authorized the trip. A pair of lawmakers began investigating the incident, and the White House denied that it played a role in the authorization, in light of President Barack Obama's friendship with the couple.
Politico reported the subcommittee's chair, Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.), said Jay-Z and Beyoncé's trip was an "example" of how people could use legal loopholes to travel to Cuba, which has been subject to a strict United States trade embargo since the Kennedy administration.
"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 told Politico.
The proposal comes as Jay-Z promotes the release of his new album, Magna Carta Holy Grail. The record contains a previously released track, "Open Letter," which tackles the criticism of the rapper's Cuba trip:
"I'm in Cuba, I love Cubans," Jay-Z raps. "This communist talk is so confusing."