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On the one-year anniversary of the U.S. taking a big step toward normalizing relations with Cuba, a dozen lawmakers are creating a new coalition dedicated to furthering the relationship that was frozen for more than 50 years.

"Increasingly, the American people are indicating their desire for a new, more pragmatic approach to Cuba," the 12-member steering committee wrote to Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in a letter dated Wednesday. "More people are traveling from the U.S. to Cuba, more businesses are looking for opportunity on the island, and more sectors are eager for trade. The bipartisan Cuba Working Group will promote a U.S.-Cuba policy that reflects the interests of the American people in engagement with Cuba."

None of the 12 House members forming the group that officially launches on Thursday are Cuban American. The Cuban-American contingent in Congress vehemently opposes normalizing relations with the communist island nation, and for years successfully blocked legislation to end the travel embargo and take other steps toward opening channels between the two countries.

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