- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 20, 2015

CHICAGO (AP) - U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says President Barack Obama’s decision to restore U.S. diplomatic ties with Cuba will have real benefits for Illinois.

Durbin issued a statement Tuesday after he and other members of Congress returned from Cuba. It was the first congressional delegation visit since Obama’s announcement last month. The Illinois Democrat says restoring ties will help farmers, small businesses and working families in Illinois and around the United States.

Durbin also says it can help open Cuba to new ideas and improved human rights that the 50-year policy of exclusion could not.

Republicans control the Senate and the House of Representatives. Durbin says he’s worried lawmakers may “scuttle” the effort to fully lift the decades-old embargo on Cuba. He says the American people are ready for it to end.

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