The increasing debate to lift the ban on crude oil exports is pushing up against the holidays and the end of the year. As such, members of Congress are using almost every legislative tactic to show the Obama Administration they are serious about modernizing U.S. energy policy.
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 8, an energy bill that includes language from Representative Joe Barton’s (R-Texas) original exports bill H.R. 702 that would greenlight international sales of domestically produced crude oil. Proposed by House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Michigan), H.R. 8 is an all-inclusive energy bill that would update the current electrical grid, increase efficiency and speed up natural gas exports.
Currently, the United States is the only country that has a self-imposed sanction on its exports. No other American commodity suffers such an infliction. But by allowing our crude oil into the global market, American producers will be able to compete on an equal playing field with the rest of the world. This benefits the American consumer by allowing greater competition, resulting in competitive prices. It would also increase jobs in both direct and supportive industries. According to an IHS study, allowing crude exports will grow jobs by 394,000 annually, providing further security to Americans.
By repealing the exports ban, the House has sent a global message announcing America’s intention of becoming a leader in world energy. Now, the ball is in the Senate’s court. Additional legislation, such as the must-pass omnibus and the tax extenders package, are alternative vehicles for allowing crude exports which are currently undergoing negotiations. However, in order to stand in the spotlight, Washington must act quickly to ensure legislation is passed in both Houses of Congress.