As Congress considers the transportation bill (another of those monstrous, “must pass” pieces of legislation with mile after mile of unsupervised spending in it) they may actually have the opportunity to do something productive for a change. Americans for Prosperity has been passing around a plan whereby some good might come out of the behemoth stack of paper. We should have the opportunity to add an amendment to once and for all lift the archaic crude oil export ban.

Dear Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McCarthy:

On behalf of more than 2.8 million Americans for Prosperity activists in all 50 states, I write to you in strong support of an amendment to the transportation package that would fully lift the ban on crude oil exports, similar to H.R. 702 sponsored by Representative Barton that the House passed earlier this year.

Myriad independent studies confirm the economic benefits of lifting the ban. NERA economic consulting estimates that repealing the current law would inject between $600 billion and $1.8 trillion into the domestic economy, and national unemployment would fall by an average of 200,000 jobs between 2015 and 2020. The Aspen Institute found that household income would increase between $2,000 and $3,000 by 2025. The U.S. Energy Information Administration found that repeal would not raise gasoline prices and may even lower them. This would bring much-needed relief to American families and businesses as they continue to struggle in the down economy.

Read the rest of the letter at AFP’s site because the logic is fairly unassailable. The original purpose of the ban has long since evaporated as America has moved into a position of global dominance in energy production. The only argument which the President can offer to lifting the ban is to essentially say, “Ugh. Oil Bad. Solar Good.” This requires pretending that people aren’t going to burn the oil anyway, but it’s a popular Democrat fantasy they cling to. Such an argument won’t hold much sway with the American people in an uncertain jobs climate, though. You may not have heard the latest, but Chevron is laying off more than 10% of its workforce because the glut in the petroleum market has driven prices below profitability levels. (NBC News)

Chevron Corp. is cutting up to 7,000 jobs, or 11 percent of its workforce, as it deals with lower oil prices that are cutting deeply into profit.

The San Ramon-based company said Friday that it would cut capital and exploratory spending next year by one-fourth, with further cuts in 2017 and 2018 depending on the oil industry’s condition then.

This comes at a time when Congress is playing games such as moving to sell off part of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve temporarily as part of the budget deal. In case you weren’t aware of this particular brainstorm, we’re apparently going to take part of our oil reserves and sell them off for a few extra bucks just when oil is at historic low prices. Then we can… (wait for it) replenish the reserve when the prices are higher. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s a brilliant sell low, buy high investment plan. And you wonder why we don’t want to keep electing people who’ve never had any business experience equivalent to running a lemonade stand?

Rather than engaging in these sorts of games we could keep our energy companies firing on all cylinders and providing jobs if we opened up our overseas markets. This could be done rather quickly if the transportation bill is amended as discussed above. And if the President is petty enough to veto it just over this then he’s going to be getting hammered from both sides. This is a win – win deal and Speaker Ryan could get his tenure off to a good start by pushing this through.