US Senate lifts 40-year-old ban on oil exports

Washington, Dec 19 (IANS) US Senate on Friday approved a government spending and tax breaks package that would pay for government operations through next September and lift a 40-year-old ban on US crude oil exports.

The bipartisan legislation, which provides $1.15 trillion in government spending and $680 billion in tax breaks, now goes to President Barack Obama’s desk for his signature. The White House has said Obama supports the measure, according to Xinhua.

Following weeks of intensive negotiations on Capitol Hill, Congressional leaders unveiled the long-term government spending and tax breaks package early on Wednesday with compromises from both parties.

For example, in exchange for Democrats’ support for lifting ban on the crude oil exports, Republicans agreed to extend wind and solar tax credits and authorise a conservation fund for three years.

The package also includes a provision to authorise the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s 2010 quota and governance reforms, which had been blocked by US Congress for years.

The Congress passed another short-term funding bill on Wednesday to keep the government open through December 22 and give lawmakers more time to deliberate the package.

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