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White House says still opposes legislative move to lift crude oil export ban

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest speaks during a briefing at the White House in Washington December 2, 2015. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Friday it opposed legislative action to lift the U.S. ban on crude oil exports as part of negotiations on a spending agreement to fund the U.S. government in 2016.

“We have opposed legislative action that would lift the ban on crude oil exports, primarily because this is already authority that rests with the executive branch,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told a news briefing. “We do not believe it is necessary for Congress to take legislative action in this area.”

Ending the ban has been one of the issues delaying a deal being negotiated in the U.S. Congress for a $1.15 trillion funding bill to pay for government operations through September 2016.

Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Writing by David Alexander; Editing by Mohammad Zargham