GOP takes a victory lap on oil exports

Senate Republicans are taking a victory lap after the elimination of the 40-year-old ban on oil exports in the recent government spending bill.

Sen. John HoevenJohn HoevenMcCain absence adds to GOP agenda’s uncertainty McCain diagnosis looms over GOP healthcare talks This week: ObamaCare repeal faces latest setback in Senate MORE (R-N.D.), who is seeking reelection this fall, on Saturday celebrated the GOP’s win on the oil ban, which he said would help the country become “energy secure.”

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“Make no mistake, we are locked in a global battle to determine who will produce oil and gas in the world in the future,” Hoeven said in the GOP weekly address.

GOP leaders struck a deal with Democrats to eliminate the ban as part of last month's trillion-dollar government spending bill. As a tradeoff, Democratic leaders in Congress and the White House secured an extension of renewable energy tax breaks. 

Hoeven said allowing more oil to flow from the U.S. to other countries will keep prices low at the pump — while taking steps to make the U.S. less vulnerable to wars overseas.

“Energy security is a vitally important part of national security,” said Hoeven, who chairs the Senate Committee on Homeland Security.

Hoeven also used the end of the oil exports ban as a way to highlight GOP visions for 2016 — just days ahead of President Obama’s final State of the Union address.

Removing the ban “illustrates the Republican approach, which is to empower men and women in all industry sectors to compete by unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit of the American people,” he said.

He also called for broader initiatives, like “savings and reforms to reduce the size and scope of government,” “reducing the regulatory burden” and "simplifying the tax code.”