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10/14/2015  House Votes To Lift 40-Year-Old Ban On U.S. Crude Oil Exports


The House overwhelmingly approved a bill Friday which would lift the forty year old ban on exporting US crude oil, a restriction which critics say hurts job creation and US national security.

The House approved the bill on a bipartisan 261 – 159 vote.  However, the White House has threatened to veto the bill should it make its way to the president’s desk, calling it unnecessary and arguing that the decision rests with the commerce secretary.

The bill heads next to the Senate.  While it easily passed the House Friday, the 261 vote tally falls short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a presidential veto.

The export ban was signed into law by President Gerald Ford in 1975 in response to the oil embargo by Arab OPEC nations against the US for its support of Israel in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.  But repeal supporters say the policy is now outdated – and failing to repeal it would cost jobs.

“In my view, America’s energy boom has the potential to reset the economic foundation of our economy and improve our standard around the world,” Speaker Boehner, R-Ohio said in a statement.

“Let’s use the peaceful tools of energy development while creating jobs in America to replace the weapons of war in Europe and the Middle East.  Let’s use our influence for good by selling this American made product – produced by American worker.  Let’s do it in a bipartisan fashion today,” Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-ND, said Friday.

Cramer, one of the original co-sponsors on the legislation, had told FoxNews.com Thursday that Republicans hoped to get a significant bipartisan vote in the House in order to put pressure on the White House and challenge the veto threat.

Meanwhile, opponents say the bill would only benefit oil companies.

“This bill is an unconscionable giveaway to Big Oil at the expense of American consumers,” said Rep. Kathy Castor, D-FL.

Selling US oil to foreign markets would result in higher gas prices at the pump and ultimately benefit China and other economic rivals, Castor said.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-IL., said the bill is not needed as long as the US continues to import millions of barrels of oil every day.

“Every barrel exported by this bill will have to be replaced by a barrel of imported oil,” she said.

However, supporters of repeal have said that, should the ban be lifted, US allies might be less likely to rely on Russia and possibly even Iran for their oil needs, which would have important national security benefits for the US.

“It is unfortunate that the White House fails to understand the national securtity and geopolitical benefits of lifting the ban on oil exports,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-AK., said in a statement Thursday.


FoxNews.com’s Adam Shaw and the AP contributed to this report.