Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), sponsor of H.R. 702 which will end a 40-year ban on the export of domestic crude oil, said the bill will receive a floor vote this fall. While House leadership has committed to bring the bill to a vote, it remains unclear if the bill will move as stand-alone legislation, or as an amendment to broader energy legislation expected to be marked up by the House Energy and Commerce Committee and brought to the floor after the August recess.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced his support of the legislation: “I would support lifting the ban and I hope that we can work together in a bipartisan fashion to bring our energy policies into this century.”
On July 30, the Senate Energy Committee reported out S. 1312, the Energy Supply and Distribution Act of 2015 to end the outdated ban on crude oil exports. Senator Murkowski intends to push for consideration of the bill by the full Senate before the end of the year and a vote on the legislation may be linked to a vote on the resolution disapproving of the Iran agreement.
On August 14, the Commerce Department approved limited U.S. crude exports to Mexico in exchange for similar quantities, but denied applications to export to several other countries. The first approval of U.S. Mexican crude swaps since the 1990’s may boost momentum for Congress to lift the ban on oil exports.