Late Tuesday, US lawmakers reached a deal to lift the US oil export ban as part of a $1.1 trillion spending and tax package that would allow the government to continue operating through September. In return, Republicans agreed to extend a series of renewable energy tax relief measures. This measure differs from previous ones as follows: 1) It was tied onto a spending bill that would prevent a government shutdown; 2) it was the result of a series of legislative quid pro quos with Democrats (they got some of the renewable energy measures they wanted); 3) and, therefore, the bipartisan “texture” of the deal will likely make it difficult for President Barack Obama to veto.
Republican and Democratic legislators will meet separately Wednesday to discuss the $1.15 trillion spending bill that was the outgrowth of clandestine negotiations between congressional leaders over the past two weeks. Legislators hope to vote on the bill as early as Friday. If both the House and the Senate pass the bill, it would then go the President Barack Obama.
Republican Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota said, “Lifting the oil export ban is very important to our industry to enable them to compete on a global basis…If we always get a lower price than the rest of the world that obviously gives the advantage to OPEC and Russia.”
Republicans made repealing the oil export ban a key priority in the legislation.
Though many Democrats, including the president, have opposed rescinding the ban, the fall in oil prices has helped ease their concerns that doing so would increase gasoline prices.
The legislation, posted early on Wednesday, gives the president the authority to halt oil exports for one year if 1) he or she declares a national emergency, or 2) declares that the crude exports are raising US oil prices or causing a domestic oil shortage.
Read About The History Of The US Export Ban Here