Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said Tuesday that there is one last sticking point standing between members and heading home for the holidays: the issue of lifting the oil export ban.
“We have been working on this night and day,” Reid said from the Senate floor Tuesday. “It is time for a reality check on where we stand on things.”
Republicans are pushing hard to end the ban that was established four decades ago to ensure the U.S. had all the fuel it needed in the event of a Middle East oil embargo. Oil companies have said the ban on exporting crude oil is no longer necessary considering the production boom happening in the United States. With gas prices the lowest they have been since 2008, Republican have prioritized lifting the ban as part of the $1.1 trillion omnibus package that will fund the government through next fall.
Democrats have been willing to play ball on lifting the ban. The hold up now is over what exactly Democrats can have in exchange. Democrats want to extend tax credits promoting solar and wind energy programs for five years.
Reid said Tuesday that Republicans have two choices. Either they can forget about lifting the ban on crude oil exports or they can give Democrats programs to reduce carbon emissions.
We have 2 paths:
1. Pair oil export ban with policies to reduce carbon emissions
2. Pass govt funding without oil/renewables
— Senator Harry Reid (@SenatorReid) December 15, 2015
Reid said that the parties need to file something soon. Republicans and Democrats must also finish the legislative language on the $900 billion tax extender package that must be completed by the end of the year.
“At this pace, we are going to be here through Christmas,” Reid said. “It’s decision time.”