“YES” on Barton Amendment to Lift Embargo on Crude Oil Exports

Today, the House will likely vote on an amendment offered by Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) 64% to H.R. 8, the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2015. The amendment would contain much of the policies of the previous House-passed bill, H.R. 702, but importantly would leave out that bill’s $500 million labor union buy-out program.

Under current law, companies must refine crude oil domestically before they are allowed to export the resulting petroleum products. The Barton Amendment would lift this decades-old embargo. As Heritage explains, were the United States to lift the crude oil export ban, “Americans [would] stand to benefit from a more efficient global oil market through lower prices and an increase in economic activity.” Heritage continues: 

“Opening markets for both import and export breeds innovation as companies face more competition and face challenges to retain or expand their market share. The result is innovative ideas, higher-quality products at competitive prices, and an improved standard of living.”

Eliminating the crude oil export ban would also end a certain form of favoritism by ending the government’s picking of winners and losers in this particular sector.

“Several special interests who stand to benefit from crude export restrictions have argued that the United States should process the crude oil domestically and export finished, higher-value goods and refined petroleum products, such as gasoline. However, a producer could make that argument regarding just about any good sold in the United States. …The focus of trade policy should not be to restrict the allocation of goods and services around the world based on the product’s final value.”

Free trade is a vital component of a strong domestic and global economy. Those principles apply to crude oil and other vital resources, and that should be reflected in America’s treatment of the import and export of those resources.

Heritage Action supports the Barton Amendment and will include it as a key vote on our legislative scorecard.

Related:
Time to Life the Ban on Crude Oil Exports
How Removing Crude Oil Export Ban Would Promote Economic Freedom