The Hill.com is reporting that U.S. lawmakers have agreed to lift the four-decade-old ban on crude oil exports as part of the spending and tax package announced Tuesday night.
Lifting the crude oil ban was a key goal for Republicans, who have said American oil producers should have expanded access to the international market at a time of low prices and new competition from Iranian oil.
Democrats have long proposed trading the renewable energy credits for crude oil exports, though until recently there was little movement on getting an exports-tax credit package to the Senate floor.
But Republicans were aggressive in pushing to including the crude oil bill in the end-of-the-year tax overhaul and spending bills. Democrats worked to tie exports to renewables in the package, with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) saying Tuesday morning that Republicans were weighing a Democratic offer to accept either both provisions or neither of them.
Export supporters say the possibly of Iranian oil hitting the global market as sanctions are lifted on the country would hurt American producers. Ending the export ban, a policy instituted to respond to the OPEC oil embargo in the 1970s, would help level the playing field, they said.