The move to lift a four-decade ban on US oil exports, which looked unlikely to succeed as a bill in its own right, is suddenly much likelier after Congressional leaders on Tuesday reached an agreement on a spending bill which includes lifting the ban as one of its components, according to Bloomberg.
If the ban is lifted it would mean a boom for shipping with US oil heading west and east to Europe and Asia.
Wrangling over spending bills has become an annual ritual on Capitol Hill with brinkmanship often bringing parties to the edge of government shutdown. This time is no different as funding expires at the end of the day on Wednesday. A stopgap spending bill should be passed on Wednesday funding the government until Tuesday December 22 to give Congress time to consider the full-year plan.
Speaker of the House, Republican Paul Ryan pulled the deal together in his first big test since taking over the role from John Boehner. Ryan said he is hoping the bill can be voted on as soon as Thursday, possibly Friday.
As far as the lifting of the oil export ban goes, the price required by Democrats includes extending credits for renewable energy sources that begin construction by the end of 2016, and a $1 per gallon biodiesel credit.
The US oil export ban, the only one of its kind among major oil-producing nations, came into being in the 1970s as a reaction to policies by oil producers in the Middle East, policies which caused shortages of gasoline in the US.
Proponents of lifting the ban say conditions are greatly changed now and the US produces way in excess of its domestic needs.