Trump tweet stalls Wampanoag bill
A tweet by President Trump uprooted the strategy of legislators who aim to save Mashpee Wampanoag plans for a $1 billion casino in Taunton.
“Republicans shouldn’t vote for H.R. 312, a special interest casino Bill, backed by Elizabeth (Pocahontas) Warren. It is unfair and doesn’t treat Native Americans equally!” said Trump in a tweet.
Democrats responded by pulling back the bill, which was scheduled for a full House vote. The bipartisan bill, which required a two-thirds majority to pass, would have granted reservation status to land controlled by the tribe, and paved the way for the opening of a casino on the property.
Rep. William Keating, a lead sponsor of the legislation, tweeted that Trump had signed a similar bill for another tribe last year. “So why tweet against a bill recognizing the tribe of the first Thanksgiving? Because of his well-documented alliance with the RI casino lobbyist. A weak attempt to hide corrupt influence in a racist tweet.”
Warren, who cosponsored a Senate version of the legislation, could not be reached for comment.
The tribe has faced a long struggle in getting its casino project to move forward. The Interior Department granted reservation status to the tribe’s land in 2015, but that decision was overturned in 2016 by a lawsuit brought by local property owners.
With Trump’s tweet foiling the plan to push through the bill quickly via a suspension of House rules, lawmakers say they will now attempt to pass the bill through the regular legislative process. “This delay won’t be long,” Keating said.
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