Cruz Won't Seek Vote to End Crude Export Ban

The Republican senator's decision follows pressure from the oil industry not to pursue his amendment to Keystone pipeline legislation.

Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican who is eyeing a run for president, will not seek a vote on an amendment to lift the ban on crude-oil exports during Senate debate on the Keystone pipeline.

The decision arrives as Cruz faces pressure from the oil industry not to seek a vote. Cruz filed an amendment earlier this month seeking to lift the ban but faced pushback from oil-industry lobbyists, who believe the time is not yet ripe to lift the ban, given that many senators have not yet taken a position on the issue.

Cruz did not push for a vote when he spoke on the Senate floor on Tuesday, saying instead that "after long conversations with my friends and colleagues, Senator Murkowski and Senator Hoeven, we have agreed that we are going to have committee hearings in the coming months focusing on those issues."

Murkowski, the chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is a vocal proponent of lifting the decades-old ban restricting the shipment of crude oil abroad and has promised to hold hearings on ending the ban.

Lifting the ban has historically been a politically tricky policy proposal because of lawmakers' concerns that such a move could raise gasoline prices.

A slate of recent studies suggests, however, that lifting the ban would not likely raise prices at the pump and may even push prices lower.

A spokeswoman for Cruz confirmed on Tuesday that he would not seek a vote on the amendment.