House panel to vote on oil export bill

House lawmakers will vote next week on a bill that would lift the 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports.

The House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on trade said Friday that will meet March 25 to debate the bill sponsored by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) and vote on it.

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It will be the first time in recent years that lawmakers have voted on a proposal to lift the ban, enacted in 1975 to protect the country from the Arab oil embargo.

Barton introduced his bill in February and it has 14 co-sponsors.

“Today we are presented with the unique opportunity to undo a piece of legislation that reflects an America of yesterday,” Barton said when introducing it.

“American energy production is at a defining juncture and now is the time to lift the ban on crude oil exports. The rewards are expansive,” he said. “Recent analysis confirms lifting the export ban would spur economic growth and create hundreds of thousands of additional jobs, while at the same time lowering prices at the pump.”

Many Republicans support lifting the ban, including Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), who held a hearing on the matter earlier this week.

But Democrats and some Republicans fear that opening the United States oil market to the world would create new demand, increasing prices that would eventually hit consumers and businesses.