Rep. Joe Barton seeks 'sweet spot' on crude exports


The House Republican leading efforts to repeal the ban on crude oil exports is talking with Democrats to find "middle ground" that would boost the bill's overall support when it comes to the floor in the coming weeks.

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), the chairman emeritus of the Energy and Commerce Committee, said last week that he's confident there's enough support in the House to pass his bill (H.R. 702) ending the ban but doesn't expect President Obama to sign the measure without a strong show of support from Democrats in both chambers.

"We want to put this bill on the president's desk," he told E&E Daily on Friday. "But to get it to the president's desk, you've got to have at least 60 votes in the Senate and it needs to come out of the House with a strong vote. It doesn't have to have a two-thirds vote, but it has to have enough Democrats that it shows it really is bipartisan."

The measure, which will be marked up in full committee Thursday, continues to pick up support, with 130 official co-sponsors listed yesterday. That tally includes 15 Democrats, some from the conservative Democratic Blue Dog Coalition, whose 15 members signaled in a statement last week they'll back the measure. (by Geof KossDaniel Bush and Hannah Northey, E&E reporters)