The Treasury Department made it clear yesterday that Cuba must make cash payments before the shipment of U.S. agricultural and medical products to the island. The ruling drew quick criticism from farm-state senators, with one threatening to block nominees to Treasury posts.
"When I first heard of the proposed change, I threatened to block consideration of significant Treasury nominees," said Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee. "Now that the change is made, I promise to be good to my word."
Baucus has also joined senior Republicans, including Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas and Larry E. Craig of Idaho, in promoting legislation to remove what they call bureaucratic obstacles put up by the administration to farm trade.