House leader: Congress could override oil export veto

House leader: Congress could override oil export veto
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House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthy34 House Republicans demand DACA action this year GOP leaders agree to consider Dec. 30 spending bill House approves motion to go to tax conference — with drama MORE (R-Calif.) predicts Congress will be able to muster the votes necessary to overcome any potential veto of a bill ending the ban on crude oil exports. 

McCarthy said Tuesday that allowing crude exports is an “easy question” in light of the nuclear agreement lifting sanctions on Iran, allowing its oil industry to tap into the global market. 

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“It’s an easy question: If Iran is able to sell their oil around the world, which the president supports in his agreement, shouldn’t America at least have the same opportunity?” McCarthy said at a meeting with businesses in Houston. “I think with that question being answered, it’ll be enough to override a veto.”

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will vote Thursday on a bill lifting the crude oil export ban, something McCarthy said he hopes to bring to the House floor by the end of the month.

Proponents of repealing the ban have alluded to the end of Iranian sanctions as reason enough to do so, often also citing the potential economic benefits for both consumers and the oil industry. 

But some oil refiners and green groups have opposed the effort, warning about higher gasoline prices and oil’s impact on climate change and the environment.

The White House stopped short of threatening to veto the House bill on Tuesday, but Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the administration opposes it because the Commerce Department already has some power to approve limited export agreements on its own. 

“And for that reason, we wouldn’t support legislation like the one that’s been put forward by Republicans,” he said.

McCarthy rebutted that argument in Houston, saying Congress has the right to overturn the 40-year-old ban if lawmakers deem it necessary.

“I think Congress should actually have a voice for where this goes,” he said.