Oil-Export Issue Puts House Republicans in a Bind
Let's call this the conservatives' caveat: "I support free trade, but…"
It's politically tricky for Republicans, whose party by principle represents free markets, free trade, and small government, to oppose lifting a government ban on exports.
Enter several key House Republicans, including Reps. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky, John Shimkus of Illinois, Doug Lamborn of Colorado, and Fred Upton of Michigan, who are all reacting cautiously, if not nervously, to the prospect of lifting the decades-old ban on crude-oil exports.
This caginess comes from a confluence of factors: 1) They need to know more about the issue before commenting (although, that doesn't stop them on other issues); 2) Old habits die hard, no matter what party you belong to. We've been banning exports of crude oil since the 1970s; and 3) They're hearing from refineries that would prefer to keep the status quo.
Maybe Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who fully endorsed the change last week, hasn't gotten to them yet.
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