Murkowski, Heitkamp Statement on House Passing Bipartisan Bill to Lift the Ban on U.S. Oil Exports

Legislation to Lift the Ban Continues to Gain Momentum, Following Passage of Murkowski & Heitkamp’s Bipartisan Bills in Two Senate Committees

October 9, 2015
10:30 AM

U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., applauded action today taken by the U.S. House of Representatives to approve legislation that would lift the current ban on U.S. crude oil exports.

The House’s bipartisan approval of this legislation builds on momentum driven over the past year in the Senate by Murkowski and Heitkamp to end this outdated energy policy. In May, Murkowski and Heitkamp introduced bipartisan, complementary legislation which was approved by their respective committees – the Committee on the Energy & Natural Resources and Committee on Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs. During each committee markup, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents expressed that lifting the ban on domestic crude oil exports is a discussion Congress needs to have.

“House approval of legislation to lift the ban on crude oil exports is great news. It sends a strong signal that Congress will lead where the administration has failed. It is unfortunate that the White House wants to ignore broad bipartisan support for increasing exports of American energy to our friends and allies,” Murkowski said. “It defies logic that this administration wants to lift sanctions on Iran while keeping de facto sanctions in place on the United States. I will continue pursuing all available options for ending the oil export ban in close partnership with Sen. Heitkamp and our colleagues.”

“Locking up one of our nation’s top commodities by maintaining a ban on exporting oil simply weakens our ability to strengthen our economy, blocks our producers from competing equally in the global market – keeping our ability to control of gas prices out of reach – and withholds a key diplomatic tool that can help our allies and boost our soft power options abroad,” Heitkamp said. “Over the past year in the Senate, Sen. Murkowski and I have been building momentum to lift the ban, and today the House of Representatives added to that effort. Bipartisan support will help move our legislation forward, and over the past year, we have been meeting with senators to explain why lifting the ban makes so much sense. It’s encouraging that others – especially Democratic senators – have recently expressed an interest and a willingness to craft a deal to address this outdated policy. The arguments for lifting the ban make the case for themselves, and today we are one step closer.”

Today’s bipartisan bill (H.R. 702) approved by the House to lift the ban on domestic crude oil exports was introduced  by Reps. Joe Barton, R-T.X., Henry Cuellar, D-T.X., and is cosponsored by 135 democrat and republican members of the House.

According to numerous studies, including from the non-partisan Government Accountability Office to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, lifting the U.S. ban would provide an opportunity to stabilize oil and gasoline prices as well as the oil market. By lifting the ban on America exporting crude oil, American producers would be able to compete on an equal footing with their counterparts from around the world, create and maintain American jobs, and contribute to increased energy security and independence.