The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the legislation Thursday, setting up a possible vote on the House floor by the end of the month.
The 31-19 vote in favor of the bill included support from three Democrats and all 28 Republicans who voted. The White House said President Barack Obama opposes the bill, arguing that a decision on whether to end the ban should be made by the Commerce Department, not Congress.
Lawmakers who support the bill say an ongoing boom in oil and gas drilling has made the 1970s-era restrictions obsolete. Opponents say lifting the ban would benefit big oil companies at the expense of U.S. consumers and even national security.