Former President Ronald Reagan may soon have a federally-recognized mountain named after him now that the House Natural Resources Committee has approved a bill from Congressman Joe Heck, R-Nev., to rename part of Mount Frenchman just east of Las Vegas.
The new effort builds on an idea originally championed by conservative activist Chuck Muth that was batted down last year when Congresswoman Dina Titus, D-Nev., instead proposed a bill to rename a local mountain after Democrat Maude Frazier, who helped create the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Fox News reports
According to The Associated Press
, after proposing the bill, Heck endured a bit of heckling and levity from the other side of the aisle before the committee's voice vote saw it approved.
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Democratic Rep. Pete DeFazio of Oregon stated, "If we were going to name something after the president, it ought to be something that actually had to do with the president's service in office, and something the president supported that was extraordinarily significant to the state of Nevada."
Yucca Mountain, said DeFazio, should clearly be the mountain of choice by such standards. The nuclear waste storage facilities there developed significantly under President Reagan, and is now an infamously toxic issue for Nevadans and their congressional delegation, who have long tried to undo it.
California Democrat Jared Huffman also joined in the fun, stating he thought DeFazio's amendment was "terrific," but a mountain alone wasn't nearly enough.
"We may want to consider going big with this Reagan-naming enthusiasm. I'm beginning to see some possibilities in this," he said. If the entire planet were named after Reagan, he mused, then Republicans might be more concerned about global warming and keeping the planet healthy.
Playing along, committee chairman Doc Hastings, R-Washington, said, "If the gentleman would introduce legislation, I would guarantee that he'll have a hearing on that bill."
So far, President Reagan has a slew of landmarks named after him, including an airport just outside Washington D.C., a couple highways, dozens of schools, and several parks. Just a few years ago, the state of New Hampshire renamed Mount Clay, turning it into Mount Reagan. In May of 2010, however, the U.S. Board of Geographic Names, a federal organization, declined to recognize the new name, instead favoring the old one, Mount Clay, for purely historical reasons.
The bill is likely to be passed by the Republican-controlled House, however Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office is unlikely to bring it to the Senate floor, and has already released a statement: "He has higher priority land bills for Nevada that he would bring up."
With many statisticians and political analysts predicting the Senate might be taken over by Republicans this fall, however, perhaps the naming of Mount Reagan will come to pass in the not-too-distant future.
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