The controversial measure -- H.R. 702, introduced by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) -- passed with a vote of 261 to 159. Of the yea votes cast, 235 were by Republicans and 26 from Democrats.
Its passage is largely symbolic, following the White House's statement of strong opposition on Wednesday and the widely perceived lack of support from Senate Democrats.
"Domestic oil production has grown in recent years, strengthening our economy, supporting new American jobs, and enhancing our energy security," the statement said. "Legislation to remove crude export restrictions is not needed at this time. Rather, Congress should be focusing its efforts on supporting our transition to a low-carbon economy."
At a Tuesday hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, several committee members (from both sides of the aisle) asked Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz about the administration's position on lifting the ban on crude exports, urging that the measure be scrapped. The secretary responded by citing the EIA's recent study that asserted domestic output now and in the reference (expected) case for 2025 is not so "hemmed in" as to impact producers."We are significant net importers of crude oil and exporters of refined products," Moniz said. The EIA analysis doesn't suggest that U.S. refineries can't handle light, sweet oil production at current levels, though at the EIA's high-resource case of 12-million-b/d output "it's different," he added.
Following Friday's vote in the House, Barton and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) urged the Senate to take up the bill. "With strong support, as seen in the House today, the President should see the need to act and stop playing politics with American jobs," they said in a statement.
Of the 10 amendments admitted for consideration by the House Rules Committee, eight were included.
The two amendments not included were one (not offered) that would have allowed the president to reduce or suspend exports if exports would result in sustained supply shortages or price increases, and another (voted down) that would have removed a provision increasing the authorization of appropriations for the Maritime Security Fleet.
The Maritime Security Fleet is a program of currently 60 U.S.-flag vessels (including container ships) which are obligated to be available to the Department of Defense during times of war or national emergency, for which theyreceive an annual stipend of $3.1 million. Under H.R. 702, those payments would go up by 61%.
Among the successful amendments were four for studies to be done after enactment looking at how the repeal of the oil export ban would impact 1) greenhouse gas emissions, 2) refiners, manufacturers and consumers, 3) national security, and 4) the creation of opportunities for veterans and women in the U.S. while promoting energy and national security.
Another successful amendment prohibits the export of crude, refined products and petrochemical products to Iran.