I’m just going to come out and say it. Harry Reid’s poker bill is has two chances at all getting passed this year: slim and none. It reeks to high heaven of insider politics, everyone knows it has Harrah’s written all over it, and attaching it to the tax bill this session is going to be a no-go. Why? Republicans are already lining up against it.
Over at Politico, here’s what Republicans are saying:
Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, a leading opponent of online gambling, told POLITICO he intends to block Reid’s proposal and vowed there is "zero chance — no chance whatsoever that would be part of the tax deal. I don’t think it would be the right thing to do.”
“The House Republicans will go crazy if this is in the bill,” said one senior congressional aide, declaring it “a total, 100 percent payback” for the support Reid received from gambling interests. The aide asserted that lobbyists for the Las Vegas-based casino operator Harrah's, now known as Caesars Entertainment Corp., even helped write the legislation.
“You could call him ‘Harrah Reid’ at this point,” the aide quipped.
Of course, Republicans would block this poker bill during this lame duck session regardless if it’s good or not, just to score political points. It wouldn’t matter if it was a stand alone bill or attached to critical spending.
Last week, three House Republicans who will become committee chairmen with jurisdiction over online gambling legislation in the next Congress — Reps. Spencer Bachus of Alabama, Dave Camp of Michigan and Lamar Smith of Texas — penned a letter to Reid and McConnell “oppos[ing] any attempt to legalize Internet gambling during the lame-duck session.” They blasted as “secretive” and “undemocratic” any effort to attach such legislation to another bill.
After Frist’s midnight hour attaching of the UIGEA to the Safe Port Act a few years ago, isn’t that rich?
Hopefully, somehow the poker bill will get through Congress; I just don’t see it happening for a while. With all of the political posturing that needs to be worked out, it could still take years.