Thursday, September 14, 2006

Pombo Brings Tribal Gaming Bill To Defeat

Yesterday, Richard Pombo’s Indian gaming bill, H.R. 4893, went down to defeat. Although it was approved by a vote of 247-171, the bill failed to get the 2/3 majority that it would have required for passage. H.R. 4893 would have prevented tribes from building casinos on newly-acquired land, a practice known as “reservation shopping.” The bill had generated a great deal of controversy among Native Americans, with those wealthy tribes who already had casinos supporting a law that would have given them virtual monopolies on gaming in their areas. Poorer tribes who were still hoping for a share of the wealth being created by casinos were opposed to the bill, as were a large number of Native Americans who were simply concerned about the erosion of sovereignty for tribal governments.

Yesterday, just before the vote, Rep. George Miller announced his opposition to the bill. His concern was that a bill which had generated so much controversy was being placed on the suspension calendar, which is typically used for noncontroversial measures (thus the requirement for a 2/3 majority vote). Bills which are placed on the suspension calendar receive little debate, and there is no mechanism for offering amendments to such bills.
"It's an inappropriate procedure for a bill of this magnitude," [Miller chief of staff Daniel Weiss] said.

Weiss said several House Democrats have concerns about the bill that have not been addressed, though he did not specify those concerns.
It’s worth noting that Miller voted for the bill when it was in committee. Weiss went on to state that “Miller has not decided whether he would support Pombo's bill if it were to get a full debate on the House floor.” But Pombo refused to open the bill up for debate.

So what, exactly would this bill have meant to residents of CA-11?

Well, the Sacramento Bee explained it this way:
Pombo's bill was aimed at stopping the spread of what has been called "off-reservation" gambling. The term has come to describe the efforts of usually remotely located tribes or newly recognized tribes that, typically working with a casino developer, acquire property distant from their historic territory and apply to the Interior Department to have it qualify for a casino under the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

Despite the enormous expansion of tribal casinos in California, little of it is the result of the loopholes in the 1988 act that Pombo sought to close. And while Pombo initially had proposed even more restrictive legislation, the version that came to the House floor Wednesday would not have stopped any of the major new casinos proposed in Northern and Central California.

"The way the legislation is now, we would be fine," said Jacquie Davis-Van Huss, secretary of the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians, which is working to develop a large casino complex north of Madera on state Route 99.

Tribal spokesmen said the bill also would not stop two controversial casino projects in Amador County proposed by the Ione Band of Miwok Indians and the Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians.
Okay. So what exactly did this bill mean to Richard Pombo?

The Sacramento Bee had an explanation for that, as well:
Last year the odds of legislation curbing Indian gambling looked better. The Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal focused attention on the enormous wealth of gambling tribes and their efforts to wield power in Congress.

But even then, critics charged that the legislation was as much about campaign contributions as stemming casino expansion. Pombo held hearings on the issue around the country, and often held fundraisers in conjunction with them. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Pombo is the top recipient of contributions from the gambling industry with nearly $200,000 to his re-election committee in the last two years, much of it from gambling tribes.

So Pombo carried the bill for his big donors in the gambling tribes. Now, a cynic might say that perhaps he purposely took a bill that would have passed had it been brought under normal circumstances and guaranteed its failure by subjecting it to a super-majority vote. A cynic might point out that the failure of this bill in this Congress merely opens up whole new round of fundraising opportunities for Richard Pombo AND it gives Pombo the added bonus of being able to rail against Democrats for the defeat of his bill.

Here’s how George Miller’s chief of staff put it:
Hastert and Pombo had the votes and could have passed the bill easily if they brought it up under regular rules. "The only people to blame for this bill not passing are Republican leaders," [Daniel Weiss] said.


Blogger babaloo said...

Mr. Benigno --
You've been given a lot of latitude on this blog. But your comments that rely on "pidgin Indian" are offensive and will be removed.

Say what you have to say in standard English (or some proximity thereof).

11:16 AM, September 14, 2006  
Anonymous Tom Benigno said...

Thank you for reminding me of that. So in Standard English the people of the district who are home owners are unhappy with Pombo regarding the Casino issue. He has caused many tax payers to be unhappy with the Casino's. They do nothing for the citizen's who struggle to keep a quality of life for their family and children. In Pombos case the Chief officer of the resources is doing harm, in supporting these Casino's. He needs to be defeted and go back to the barn.

Lets get a new Congressman vote Mc Nerney.

Tommy Bananas

11:38 AM, September 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you've put the spin cycle on overdrive here, but I love it anyway. I just think Pombo is too dumb to have planned this all out.

12:34 PM, September 14, 2006  
Blogger babaloo said...

First, let me make the point that I am not advocating either for or against Pombo’s Indian gaming bill. I believe that the issues involved are incredibly complicated; reconciling the concerns of local communities, on the one hand, with long-established rules of Native American tribal sovereignty, on the other, is never going to be an easy task.

But this is ridiculous.

Yesterday, Pombo issued a press release through his House Resources Committee entitled, of course, “Democrats Kill Bill to Rein In Off-Reservation Indian Casinos.” In the press release, Pombo advocates giving local communities the ability to control land use planning for sovereign tribes, making the following assertion:

"Doing nothing to stop this problem is not only a threat to communities, it is a threat to tribal sovereignty itself," Pombo continued. "If Congress does not give communities power proactively, and a fraction of the Indian casino proposals in the pipeline are approved without their input, the resulting outrage directed at Washington will force Congress to re-act. That is exactly when and how the integrity of tribal sovereignty will be weakened."

So Pombo’s argument is, in essence, “We have to trample tribal sovereignty to prevent tribal sovereignty from being trampled.” Vintage Pombo bullshit. And this is, apparently, not an issue that Pombo even deems worthy of debate on the House floor.

4:01 PM, September 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Casino's in California, are they 18 and up or 21? does anyone know? and where is the closest one to stockton? I think i should do some research on them.

4:06 PM, September 14, 2006  
Anonymous Tom Benigno said...

Babaloo: What you have just described is the problem we have with the government. They write bills in the legislature and then pass them on. And in somecases the bills are offered by local control politics, and sent on to the legislature then to Congress. Anyway you shake it, it all comes down to what is good for a few so that the mass get the shaft to support or pay the legislation.We understand that is the way government usually works but in the last 30 years the process has changed. Just by simple verbage many bills are unconstitutional. The interrupation is changed to protect the quilty.
That may sound funny but true many laws change, so that local government can pave the way for federal intervention. As with this Casino lobby they make it as though we are punishing the tribes if we dont allow them land rights this guy Far who wrote the Pombo manifesto" This Land Is Our Land" that put Pombo to power.The Endangered Species Act written By Mc Closkey and re-written by Far and Pombo.Pombos explaination for the ESA does not sound like the same bill that Mc closkey wrote. Even Bob Stacks version comes across different. Pombos version of the bill comes across as though we are harming the rights of the Indian tribes right to have a casino on their land. As this guy Far who co- wrote the book " This Land Is Our Land" Pombo is saying goe ahead and build where ever you want. Bob Stacks bill to save the Frogs was treated terribly. Deception is the name of the game.

Vote for Mc Nerney

Tom Benigno

7:02 PM, September 14, 2006  
Anonymous Tom Benigno said...

I think it would in the blogs best interest to erase, your first statement against my writing. I got your message, I just want to take this race to another level. Let the juices flow. Richard Pombo is not good for America, as maybe Casino's are bad for the economy. We need real jobs. As for the "pidgin Indian" I want to see us have one language that to me is insulting and offensive. Why don't you talk about that.

Vote for Mc Nerney

Tom Benigno

7:47 AM, September 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I notice George Miller's chief of staff quoted. I remember when George pulled some "dark-of-night" deal to allow a tribe to move into the bay area. I don't like Pombo, but I think Miller's got dirty hands here.

7:04 PM, September 17, 2006  

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