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FUEL FIX: Blue Dog Democrats endorse oil export bill

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Washington, September 9, 2015 | comments


WASHINGTON — A coalition of fiscally conservative Democrats on Wednesday declared their support for legislation to lift longstanding oil export restrictions.

The 14-member Blue Dog Coalition said they backed the bill the night before a House subcommittee is expected to approve the measure.

Related story: House committee to vote on oil exports

Oil export advocates said the endorsement is a sign of growing support for the push to lift the ban, though substantively, it may not represent many new “aye” votes for the legislation. Eight members of the group had already signed on as cosponsors of the bill.

One of them, Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., said oil exports can be a force for stability in volatile regions of the world “by creating competition on the global market and limiting the ability of countries like Russia to use crude . . . as a political weapon.”

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, has been working with lead Democratic cosponsor (and Blue Dog member) Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, to build support for the bill.

The House Energy and Power Subcommittee is slated to vote on the legislation Thursday, paving the way for a full committee’s consideration as early as next week.

Related story: Houston rep Gene Green in spotlight as House panel tackles oil exports

Where it goes from there is unclear, though House GOP leaders have signaled they plan to bring the issue to a vote in the chamber. That could happen via Barton’s bill; the export provisions also could be added to other legislation, such as a highway bill or spending package.

In July, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved separate legislation to authorize oil exports, give coastal states a greater share of offshore drilling revenue and allow companies with drilling rights in the Arctic to get more time to use them.


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