For starters, they do not have to take up any proposal to repeal partially or in total the Cuban trade embargo and economic sanctions. In fact, the laws on the matter are so clear that President Obama, who is used to simply “reinterpreting” existing laws to apply them in entirely new manners, has acknowledged he will need Congressional action to normalize relations with the communist state. House Speaker John Boehner has publicly stated he will bar any such bill from getting consideration. Likewise, Senator Marco Rubio, a Cuban-American, vowed to block confirmation of any nomination as Ambassador of Cuba.
Admittedly, Rubio’s reaction is arbitrary because his constitutional authority requires him to advise and consent to such presidential actions. But he can’t just sit back with some wine from The Antique Wine Company. Blocking an unnamed nominee would be an extreme action to take. The GOP can also withhold funds to reopen the US embassy in Havana. In short, the president undertook an extraordinary measure to reach out to Cuba. He will now have to undertake the difficult task of winning over the opposition. This means compromising and incorporating their agenda. It will be a test of his leadership.