Friday, November 13, 2015

BREAKING: U.S. House Re-Sets Vote On Blocking West Valley Casino For Next Week; Casino Scheduled To Open In 5 Weeks

Just five weeks before the Tohono O'odham Nation is set to open their West Valley Desert Diamond casino in Glendale, the U.S. House of Representatives has re-set a vote on Rep. Trent Franks' bill to block it.

The re-set comes just three weeks after it was removed from the House's calendar due to an "ethics concern", one week after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the Tohono O'odham's claiming of the land in the West Valley was legal, and only five weeks before the planned December 20 grand opening of the already-constructed casino.

While there is no official word on why the Keep the Promise Act was taken off of the calendar last month or why it is back on the calendar, the impending grand opening, the latest legal chapter, the intensive lobbying - by both the Salt River and Gila River Nations - and the new House leadership could all be factors.

The bill has the support of more than half of Arizona's Congressional delegation (Franks, Gosar, Kirkpatrick, Salmon, Schweikert) and the vocal opposition of Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-CD3) (who represents much of the Tohono O'odham Nation).

The Congressional Budget Office put a possible price tag of $1Billion on the bill, because of the certainty of legal action if it was signed into law and the lost opportunity costs to the Tohono O'odham Nation.  Politico today notes "a Budget Committee aide said the committee made its own determination that there is no definite score because it's too unpredictable."

(h/t Politico)

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