GOP, Dems Argue Over Naming Ocean Territory After Reagan

Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 02:35 PM

By Dan Weil

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Republicans and Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee are debating the wisdom of a GOP bill that would name 3.4 million square nautical miles of ocean after former President Ronald Reagan.

The bill introduced by Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California would rename the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which ranges from three miles to 200 miles offshore, as the Ronald Wilson Reagan Exclusive Economic Zone, The Hill reports.

"While certain left-wing organizations have characterized this legislation as trivial, there is no debate our 40th president served with the highest distinction," Rep. John Fleming, a Louisiana Republican, said during the debate.

"During his eight years in office, the Cold War ended, the Soviet Union began to collapse, the American people lived in prosperity and our national debt was less than $3 trillion."

Democrats look at it differently, of course.

"President Reagan’s name already graces roads, schools, buildings, and fields in 22 states and the District of Columbia, not to mention a major airport and a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier," said Rep. Alan Lowenthal, a California Democrat.

"But naming the entire EEZ after anyone seems a bit much. After all, we are talking about 3.4 million square miles of ocean, an area larger than the combined land mass of all 50 states. We don’t live in the United States of Coolidge, or fly through the Warren. G. Harding Airspace. Why should we steam or sail on the Reagan Ocean?"

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