RAWA Excluded From Approved $1.1 Trillion Spending Package

Posted on December 18th, 2015 by Jon Pineda
RAWA spending package omitted

Countless special interests got their way in the approved $1.1 trillion spending package, but Sheldon Adelson’s RAWA legislation was once again omitted. (Image: Jeff Scheid/Reuters)

The Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) will have to wait until at least 2016 to restore the Wire Act to its pre-2011 interpretation and ban online gambling on the federal level.

That’s good news for advocates of legal online gaming and the three states with authorized Internet poker, Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware.

It’s not every day that you can say Congress worked together, but that’s precisely what Democrats and Republicans did this week in order to pass a $1.1 trillion spending and tax package and avoid a government shutdown.

It took 2,009 pages of stodgy prose for the Senate and House of Representatives to come together and fund government agencies through next fall.

What they didn’t opt to embrace was RAWA, the majority of lawmakers ruling that the issue wasn’t of paramount concern along the lines of other more pressing topics.

What did make the cut includes tax breaks for low-income Americans, reforms for the visa waiver program, wind and solar tax credits, and the stoppage of a 40-year ban on crude oil exporting.

No “Hear, Hear” During Hearing

Last week, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) hosted a second hearing on RAWA, legislation he first introduced in April of 2014. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform listened to four witnesses provide testimony on why RAWA should and shouldn’t be passed.

Three witnesses seemed to back its passage, but by and large the Oversight members seemed antagonistic. Citing concerns of states’ rights and even the Second Amendment, the tone of the hearing favored leaving online gaming up to individual states.

Reps Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) asked during the hearing, “If we pass a national online gambling prohibition … to deal with a state problem, couldn’t that logic be used in the same way with gun control?”

Sheldon Do You Hear?

RAWA doesn’t appear to be a bipartisan or even partisan bill. It’s a piece of legislation that appears to be highly favorable in the eyes of only one man, albeit a man worth $30 billion.

Las Vegas Sands owner Sheldon Adelson is notoriously behind RAWA and doesn’t show any signs of slowing his campaign to pass a federal online gaming ban. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) co-sponsored RAWA in 2015 and is considered Adelson’s favorite for the 2016 GOP ticket.

However, the billionaire revealed this week he met with frontrunner Donald Trump when the candidates were in Vegas for the fifth Republican debate. “We like a lot of the candidates, some more than the others,” Adelson told Reuters. “It’s changing every day.”

What isn’t changing is America’s reported distrust in American politics. According to veteran pollster Pat Caddell, the country is on the verge of a revolution more so than at any time in recent history.

“The strength of this country comes from its people and it has a political system that is run, now, to the exclusion of its people,” Caddell told Breitbart. “By the time you get through this bill, every special interest will have been paid off.”

The one exception of not being “paid off” is Sheldon, at least for now.

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