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GOP hammers Obama on crude export ban

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House Republicans are targeting President Obama’s energy agenda, saying the federal ban on crude oil exports is holding back the country’s otherwise-booming energy economy. 
 
Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, on Saturday highlighted the GOP bill to end the export ban — which passed the House on Friday — and urged Democrats to get on board for the sake of domestic jobs.
 
{mosads}”These days, you’re hearing a lot about America’s energy boom, about how it’s creating jobs and revitalizing industries,” Conaway said in the weekly Republican address.
 
“It’s great to talk about this. But time and again, we’ve seen Washington stifle successes. In fact, this boom has happened in spite of the Obama administration’s efforts to block production anywhere and everywhere it can,” he charged.
 
The debate surrounding the nation’s ban on oil exports —  established 40 years ago — cuts largely across partisan lines. 
 
Supporters of lifting the ban, including most Republicans, say the change would create U.S. jobs by encouraging more production at home; reduce domestic gas prices by increasing oil stores on the global market; and protect national security by limiting the influence of Russia and Iran in the oil trade.
 
“This bill is a market-based bill: willing-buyer, willing-seller,” Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), who sponsored the House legislation, said on the chamber floor Friday.
 
“U.S. oil can go anywhere in the world if we allow it to. That is an economic asset, it is a military, strategic asset.”
 
Supporters of the ban, including most Democrats, say it’s beneficial because it helps maintain domestic refinery jobs and protects the environment from the strains of increased production. The economic benefits of removing the ban, they argue, are short-sighted and exaggerated.
 
“This legislation eagerly embraces short-term profits and benefits without understanding — or even considering — the cost of such a major action,” said Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.). 
 
Friday’s vote largely reflected those views. The tally was 261- 159, with 26 Democrats joining all Republicans in supporting the bill. Obama, for his part, has vowed to veto it.
 
That opposition, Conaway said, is based on decades-old thinking that should be abandoned given contemporary global conditions.
 
“Times have changed. Far from being addicted to foreign oil, we are in the midst of a crude oil renaissance right here at home. All the ban is doing now is holding back economic development in every state of our union,” Conaway said.  
 
“The president should and must listen to the American people, and help us lift this export ban today.”
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