Congress can’t agree on immigration reform, new student loan rates or farm law – yet some lawmakers are seriously talking about staking a claim to “national park land” on the moon.
Reps. Donna Edwards, the ranking Democrat on the House Subcommittee on Space, has drafted, along with 11 co-sponsors, legislation that would turn the portion of the moon where Apollo 13 landed into a U.S. national park. The bill would preempt other countries from setting up establishments along Apollo’s historic landing sites.
“As commercial enterprises and foreign nations acquire the ability to land on the moon, it is necessary to protect the Apollo lunar landing sites for posterity,” the legislation states.
Never mind that no human has set foot on the lunar surface in 40 years and the U.S. government has no scheduled plans to return anytime soon. Nor is it clear how lawmakers could prevent other nations from staking claim to the same moonscape, if they chose to. - See the legislation here
MORE MILITARY WASTE IN AFGHANISTAN The U.S. military plans to demolish a $34 million facility it built in Afghanistan that was never used, according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).
According to a letter SIGAR sent to Congress on Wednesday, the military continued to build the facility two years after commanders said they didn’t need it. The building is currently abandoned.
“SIGAR is deeply troubled that the military may have spent taxpayer funds on a construction project that should have been stopped,” the letter states. - Read the full letter here
IMMIGRATION REFORM: DOA House Republicans will meet later this afternoon to discuss the fate of immigration reform. But prospects for passage of anything resembling the Senate’s comprehensive bill are quite grim. Instead, House Republicans are pushing forward with four separate bills that are focused mainly on border security – and that do not include a pathway to citizenship. - Read more at The Fiscal Times
BEST AND WORST STATES FOR BUSINESS South Dakota, Texas and North Dakota are the best states to live in if you own a business, according to a new analysis by CNBC. Meanwhile, Hawaii, Rhode Island and West Virginia are rated among the worst business climates. The study, compiled with input from the National Association of Manufacturers and the Council on Competitiveness, ranks all 50 states onbusiness competitiveness. - See the full list here
SENATE TRIES A STUDENT LOAN FIX Lawmakers are attempting to retroactively fix the interest rate on subsidized Stafford student loans after Congress’s inaction last week caused the rates to double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. But so far, a deal is unlikely. The Senate will vote today on a one-year extension of the old 3.4 percent rates, but that measure is expected to fail. - Read more at the Associated Press
HEALTH MANDATE DELAY HEARING The House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee holds a hearing today on the White House’s decision to delay the employer mandate under Obamacare. No administration officials are scheduled to speak and International Franchise Association member Sean Falk will be the only business owner testifying. - See the briefing here