The House voted 343 to 78 on Tuesday to pass H.R.2938,
a bill that prevents the Tohono O’odham Nation of Arizona from opening a casino.
Nearly every Republican voted for the bill. The significant exceptions were Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming), who sits on the House subcommittee that controls Indian funding, and Rep. Tom McClintock (R-California), who sits on the House Natural Resources Committee and had a favorable record on Indian issues when he was a state lawmaker.
Rep. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma), the sole Native American in Congress, voted for the bill.
He is a member of the Chickasaw Nation, which owns the most gaming facilities of any tribe in the U.S.
A surprisingly large number of Democrats -- 74 total -- voted for the bill.
They included two members who are leaving Congress after this session -- Rep. Dan Boren (D-Oklahoma) and Rep. Dale Kildee (D-Michigan), who co-founded the Congressional Native American Caucus.
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-New Jersey), the vice chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus, also voted for the bill. So did Rep. Ed Pastor (D-Arizona), whose district includes the tribe's proposed gaming site near Glendale.
The tribe vowed to fight the bill, which faces an uncertain future in the Senate.
“We remain committed to moving forward with our project and creating positive economic opportunity in the West Valley,” Chairman Ned Norris Jr. said in a statement, Cronkite News reported.
In 1986, Congress passed the Gila Bend Indian Reservation Lands Replacement Act. The law compensated the tribe for lands that were flooded by the federal government and authorized the selection of replacement lands.
Using settlement funds, the tribe has purchased new lands, including 135 acres
near the city of Glendale. The law dictates that the lands must be placed in trust.
H.R.2938 doesn't affect the trust provision of the 1986 law but it bars Class II and Class III gaming on the site where the tribe wants to build the West Valley Resort.
Normally, gaming is allowed on land taken into trust in connection with a settlement.
Get the Story:
Tohono O’odham vow fight House vote to block casino near Glendale
(Cronkite News 6/19)
Congress votes to block possible Glendale casino
Glendale statement on House block of casino
House passes bill to block Glendale casino
(The Phoenix Business Journal 6/19)
House passes bill to block Tohono O’odham casino in Glendale
(The Glendale News-Star 6/20)
House passes bill blocking planned Tohono O'odham casino near Glendale
(The Arizona Republic 6/20)
City and tribe issue statements on congressional vote on casino
(The Glendale Star 6/20)
House to vote on bill that blocks Tohono
O'odham Nation casino (6/19)