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September 21, 2015

MSCI Effort To Overturn Ban On Crude Oil Exports Takes One More Step Forward

Last Thursday, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee voted 31 to 19 to approve H.R. 702, a bill that would overturn the United States’ ban on crude oil exports. (As Connecting the Dots has reported several times over the last few months, MSCI strongly supports overturning this ban.) 

While the movement in the House is good news, the Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Association, which MSCI is working with to end the ban, continues to believe it is essential to generate more support among Democratic lawmakers in order to successfully overturn the ban. (The White House opposes ending the ban, which means the House and Senate will need veto-proof majorities to get H.R. 702 or similar legislation enacted.) 

MSCI urges its members to call their representatives to urge them to support H.R. 702, or similar efforts to end the U.S. ban on crude oil exports, when they come to the House floor for a vote. (Members of House leadership have said H.R. 702 could come to the floor within the next month.) 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said he would also like the Senate to consider legislation to end the ban. However, according to Reuters, “Supporters of a similar bill in the Senate are struggling to find wider legislation to which it can be attached.” 

According to The Washington Post, “Leading economists, including former Treasury secretary and former Obama economic policy director Lawrence Summers, say that lifting the export ban makes sense and that free trade in oil will promote efficiency as it does in other areas of trade.” The Post notes, “At a Brookings Institution event a year ago Summers also cited concerns that Russia might curtail supplies of oil to parts of Europe and said ‘we have a long history of believing that export restrictions are not an appropriate policy tool.’”