House Panel Passes Bill Repealing US Crude Export Ban

Date: September 18, 2015

Measure Faces Opposition By Senate, White House

On Thursday in a 31-19 vote the House Energy and Commerce committee approved a measure to lift the current ban on US crude exports. The bipartisan vote included three Democrats and 28 Republicans, the AP notes. In opposing the bill, the White House “argu[es] that a decision on whether to end the ban should be made by the Commerce Department, not Congress” while “lawmakers who support the bill say an ongoing boom in oil and gas drilling has made the 1970s-era restrictions obsolete.” The vote marked progress for business and industry groups seeking to undo the antiquated regulations, but Fuel Fix (TX) notes that “the lopsided 31-19 vote illustrated the steep political obstacles to liberalizing crude trade.” Bloomberg News reports that House Democrats “said [the] measure…needs more environmental and consumer protections to win their backing.”

What Happens Next

Though the exact timing is uncertain, it appears the House is serious about pushing through votes on the issue as quickly as possible. The Hill reports that Thursday’s vote means the bill will move to the House for a full vote, something that Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said “would happen in the coming weeks.” The Washington Examiner adds that “it’s expected the bill will come up for a vote in the House before the end of the month.” After House passage, Senate passage is less certain. And, even if both the House and Senate pass a measure to lift the US crude export ban, President Obama has spoken out against the measure, meaning its future is unclear.

What This Means For Small Businesses

Small businesses in the energy sector, particularly those dealing with oil services, would benefit from the removal of antiquated, burdensome restrictions on trade in the global economy. Small businesses should be able to sell their wares on the global market, and removing restrictions against doing so is good for businesses and the US economy.

Additional Reading

Reuters and the Houston (TX) Chronicle also cover the House committee passage of the crude export measure.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

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