By Ben Geman - 09/12/12 07:28 PM EDT
Waxman called Issa’s effort part of a broader trend. “There has been a campaign for deification of Ronald Reagan by the Republicans for some years now, since he has passed away particularly, and this is part of that effort,” he said.
“They would like to name everything on earth that they can get a hold of ... because his legacy is the only thing they have going for them,” Waxman said.
Issa’s bill is before the House Natural Resources Committee, and a committee aide said it is not yet clear if it will receive a vote.
Reagan’s proclamation establishing the EEZ declared the nation’s sovereign rights to the region – including rights to the seabed and subsoil – for exploring, exploiting and conserving offshore resources, including energy.
Under Issa’s proposal, which has also been introduced in past sessions of Congress, references to the EEZ in U.S. laws, regulations, maps and other documents would carry Reagan’s name.
The U.S. EEZ spans more than 13,000 miles of coastline and contains 3.4 million square nautical miles of ocean, according to the Interior Department.
It includes waters off U.S. coasts regions and other areas such as Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands.
Issa touted the bill in a statement submitted to a House Natural Resources Subcommittee that held a hearing on the bill Monday.
“We currently have the largest EEZ in the world, spanning over 13,000 miles of coastline and reaching the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, and Pacific Ocean. President Reagan appreciated that America is blessed with an abundance of natural resources and understood that to remain competitive and to promote strong economic growth, we need to effectively develop and responsibly make use of our natural wealth,” Issa said.