House Votes To Abolish Ban On US Oil Exports

Date: October 12, 2015

Bipartisan Vote Pushes Repeal Of Crude Export Ban Forward

On Friday in a 261-159 vote the US House approved a measure “to reverse a 40-year-old ban on oil exports,” the New York Times reported. The measure had bipartisan support, with 26 Democrats voting in its favor. The Times reported that opponents of lifting the ban have argued it “could raise gasoline prices, an assertion contested by many energy experts and economists since increased United States supplies on world markets could bring global prices down at least a bit.” For its part, the White House “has been reluctant to lift the export ban entirely, in part because environmentalists say it would encourage more petroleum development and hydraulic fracturing.” The Wall Street Journal reported that a group of more than a dozen US oil producers has been pushing the issue in Congress fro more than a year. Coalition executive director George Baker said of the House vote, “This is a vote to level the playing field for U.S. workers and businesses who should be allowed to compete against foreign oil suppliers like Iran and Russia.” The Journal reported that although the bill had support from 235 Republicans and 26 Democrats, it needed 290 votes total in order to override a possible presidential veto.

What Happens Next

Though legislation to repeal the US crude export ban has passed the House, its fate from there is uncertain. The Washington Post predicted that the legislation faces major hurdles in the Senate, which “doesn’t appear eager to take up the issue,” and tin he White House, which “has flatly pledged to veto it.” Furthermore, two days before the House vote, the Office of Management and Budget conveyed the Administration’s strong stance against lifting the ban, saying such action was “not needed at this time.” For now, the ban on crude exports continues.

What This Means For Small Businesses

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 as a whole. Therefore, news that the House has passed a repeal of the US crude export ban could be positive for small businesses, which would benefit from the removal of restrictions on trade in the global economy. However, the ultimate fate of the proposal remains uncertain.

Additional Reading

The Oil and Gas Journal and The Hill also covered the ongoing debate over the crude export ban.

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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