The House Energy and Commerce Committee has passed a bill to lift America’s decades-long ban on crude oil. Three Democrats joined all of the Republicans in passing the bill out of committee, 31-19.
The bill now goes to the full House for passage.
The White House opposes the bill, with spokesman Josh Earnest saying,
“This is a policy decision that is made over at the Commerce Department, and for that reason, we wouldn’t support legislation like the one that’s been put forward by Republicans.”
Unlike Venezuela, Russia, China and others, American oil production is not a state-owned enterprise. The United States benefits from free trade and a robust energy economy because of strong private property rights.
Individuals in the U.S. have largely owned and been able to produce natural resources in America. Private property rights are a critical reason why the U.S. is a global energy leader.
The U.S. is a leader in energy despite government obstacles – such as the ban on exporting crude oil, or lengthy review periods for permit drilling activities.
The narrative is written pretty clearly.
When the government gets out of the way, the energy sector succeeds. Government intervention, on the other hand, cripples production, innovation and job creation.
The policy fix is therefore a no brainer; Congress should simply lift the ban.
The problem, however, is that policymakers who want something else see an opportunity for horse trading.
If you read Josh Earnest words carefully he says, “we wouldn’t support legislation like the one that’s been put forward by Republicans” adding that “The administration believes that the American people are better served by making sure that we pursue the kind of approach that also invests in renewable energy.”
This is the Washington mentality case and point with the White House and Democrats asking, “What can I get for it?”
For example, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., said that a deal could be struck that includes extended handouts for wind and solar companies, the beneficiaries of targeted tax credits. Heitkamp remarked,
“This is an opportunity to make an argument about production tax credits and investment tax credits in the context of giving certainty, across the board, to the energy industry and truly supporting an all-of-the-above policy.”