A few weeks ago National Journal‘s Amy Harder wrote about House Republicans’ political caginess over whether the nation’s crude oil export ban should be lifted. Today two House Republicans made it clear their conference hasn’t gotten much closer to a consensus on the topic.
“I don’t think there is a solid Republican position on this right now,” said Rep. John Shimkus, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. His committee colleague Joe Barton, appearing at the same Politico-hosted event Thursday, said, “I can debate either side of that.”
“From a pure economic standpoint, it doesn’t make sense to have an export ban; let’s eliminate it, and if you are a market-based person, do that,” said Barton, a Texas Republican and former chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
“On the other hand, from more of a pragmatic, political [standpoint], a lot of the environmentalists are going to fight us tooth and nail if we try and end the ban. Is it really worth having that fight?” he asked.
Barton chairs the energy task force of the conservative Republican Study Committee and said the export debate is alive within the group.
“We are going to put out a series of position papers and also some bills, maybe a comprehensive bill, and … one of the things that we are debating is whether to support the end of the ban,” Barton said.
Shimkus described arguments on both sides.
One is flatly pro-free-trade on commodities. But he also made the case for expanding refinery capacity — and the jobs that come with it — so the U.S. could export even more refined products rather than shipping crude abroad.
“That is what we would rather see, because I think it is more beneficial to the wealth of our nation,” Shimkus said.
Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., said earlier this week that while his panel’s focus is on exports of natural-gas right now, oil exports are on the horizon.
“I do think the export of crude oil will be an issue that is going to be more and more discussed and we’re going to be focused on,” he said.
“Philosophically, I don’t really have a problem of exporting crude oil per se,” Whitfield said Tuesday when his committee released a paper arguing that exporting gas would provide geopolitical and economic benefits. “We’re already exporting crude-oil products anyway.” He added, though, that it can get complicated when you consider whether gasoline prices may rise.
He indicated that when the committee does focus on it, legislation to change the status quo is unlikely. “When the time comes, we just want a public debate about it,” Whitfield said.
What We're Following See More »
With three days until the first debate, the polls are coming fast and furious. The latest round:
- An Associated Press/Gfk poll of registered voters found very few voters committed, with Clinton leading Trump, 37% to 29%, and Gary Johnson at 7%.
- A McClatchy-Marist poll gave Clinton a six-point edge, 45% to 39%, in a four-way ballot test. Johnson pulls 10% support, with Jill Stein at 4%.
- Rasmussen, which has drawn criticism for continually showing Donald Trump doing much better than he does in other polls, is at it again. A new survey gives Trump a five-point lead, 44%-39%.
In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shunning traditional debate preparations, but has been watching video of…Clinton’s best and worst debate moments, looking for her vulnerabilities.” Trump “has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials. He has refused to use lecterns in mock debate sessions despite the urging of his advisers. He prefers spitballing ideas with his team rather than honing them into crisp, two-minute answers.”
Donald Trump "is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition."
Bill and Hillary Clinton have purchased the home next door to their primary residence in tony Chappaqua, New York, for $1.16 million. "By purchasing the new home, the Clinton's now own the entire cul-de-sac at the end of the road in the leafy New York suburb. The purchase makes it easier for the United States Secret Service to protect the former president and possible future commander in chief."