Senate panel votes to lift 40-year-old US ban on oil exports

The Senate Banking Committee has endorsed a bill to lift the four-decade-old ban on crude oil exports, the latest sign of congressional support for legislation that President Barack Obama opposes.

The banking panel endorsed the bill, 13-9, on Thursday, on a largely party-line vote. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota sponsored the bill and was the only Democrat to support it.

Heitkamp said the bill would lower or stabilize gas prices, support jobs and increase U.S. influence abroad. Despite the largely partisan committee vote, Heitkamp said she is optimistic that Senate Democrats will support efforts to lift the export ban. The ban was imposed in the 1970s amid an energy shortage.

The House Energy and Commerce endorsed a similar bill last month.

The White House said it opposes both bills.