Yesterday, in a procedure that turns on its head the assignment of powers in the Constitution, Senate Democrats blocked a vote on disapproving President Barack Obama’s controversial deal with Iran.
Per the Constitution the Senate is supposed to ratify such treaties (Article II, Section 2 states that the president can make treaties “provided two thirds of the Senators present concur”), but thanks to semantical hair splitting (it’s an agreement not a treaty!) and slick political maneuvering, somehow it ended up that Obama got to make the deal and the Senate could only object if they mustered the 60 votes needed to break through a filibuster and pass a resolution blocking it.
That’s how the rule of law works in Obama’s America, I guess.
So now, in addition to other provisions in the agreement-not-a-treaty, Iran can re-enter the global oil market. That means more oil on that market, and likely lower oil prices. In fact, the reality that Obama’s deal with Iran was likely to pass is no doubt a part of the reason why oil prices have remained in the tank all summer.
But Iran being allowed to export oil would be less problematic if we could let American producers export oil as well.
That’s right. Even as we give Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism and significant threat for nuclear war, the ability to export oil American policy prohibits American companies employing American workers from exporting crude oil to international market. Rather, domestic oil producers can only sell their crude oil to domestic oil who can then export the refined market.
If you’re thinking that sounds like a cushy deal for the refiners, you’re right. It is. And it should end.
Perhaps it was not merely an accident of timing that yesterday, as the Senate failed to shoot down the agreement-not-a-treaty, a House subcommittee approved the repeal of the crude oil export ban.
“The passage of the bill by the subcommittee on a voice vote is a good momentum builder for this important legislation,” North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer said of news that the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power had passed the measure. “It appears we are on a path to repealing this outdated ban by year’s end.”
Let’s hope he’s right, because setting all the other excellent reasons to be suspect of the Iran agreement-not-a-treaty aside, it simply doesn’t make sense that American policy should allow Iran’s state oil company to access the global markets but not America’s private oil industry.
We can, at the very least, fix that injustice.