On Friday, Congress approved and sent President Obama a bipartisan year-end budget bill that increases federal agency spending and gives tax cuts to families and businesses. But the most interesting part of this bill is the part that would lift the 40 year oil export ban that keeps oil extracted locally to be sold overseas. Approved in the U.S. Senate by a vote of 65 to 33, the next stop for the bill is the desk of President Obama before it becomes law.
The bill, already dubbed the “omnibus spending bill,” contains $1.14 trillion in brand new spending for 2016 with an additional $680 billion in tax cuts to come over the next decade. Earlier, the bill was approved in the House and brought an end to a year in which both sides of the aisle argued over the budget, taxes, and more.
The White House has already called the repeal of the oil export ban symbolic, as currently 4.3 million barrels per day are allowed to be sold overseas due to certain loopholes, which leads us to believe that President Obama will indeed sign the trillion-plus dollar bill as he has multiple times in the past.
Other notable reactions to the bill and repeal of the oil export ban include:
- Senator John Hoeven (R), North Dakota – “It will create jobs and grow our economy. It will keep the price of gasoline lower at the pump for consumers because of more supply, and it will bolster national security through energy security.”
- Senator Ted Cruz – “I think this omnibus was a betrayal of the men and women who elected us. It was Republican leadership playing Santa Claus to the lobbyists in K Street and the special interests, and it’s why people are fed up with the Washington cartel.”
- Representative Nancy Pelosi – “They wanted big oil so much that they gave away the store.”
- Representative Paul Ryan – “This bipartisan compromise secures meaningful wins for Republicans and the American people, such as the repeal of the outdated, anti-growth ban on oil exports.”
- Dan K. Eberhart, CEO of Canary, LLC – “This is a historic day, and one that is long overdue. I applaud our lawmakers for their dedication in staying the political course and finally lifting this ban. I’m eager to see the benefits unfold from this policy change.”
Lilia Fabry is the owner of MPP Freelance, a writing and web design firm in Houston, TX.