Wednesday December 10,2014 : IS THE R.A.W.A. DEAD FOR THIS YEAR?
Fears of a last-minute attempt to attach online gambling banning bill to an omnibus spending measure fade.
Reports from a variety of sources in Washington DC appear to indicate that Sheldon Adelson's attempt to ban internet gambling through the Restoration of America's Wire Act (RAWA) has failed…at least in this Congressional session.
The House bill is being driven by Utah Republican Representative Jason Chaffetz in the House, whilst Senator Lindsey Graham is managing its companion measure in the Senate.
Although it has attracted some political support, perhaps influenced by the big money Adelson has shovelled into political campaign contributions, the bill has not made it out of the House Judicial Committee and appears equally becalmed in the Senate.
However, there have been fears that Adelson political supporters could find a way in the lame duck closing days of this Congressional session to attach the bill to a last-minute omnibus spending bill that has to go through this month in order for the federal government to be pay rolled.
Those fears receded Tuesday as news emerged that Republicans and Democrats had agreed on the content of the 1,603-page omnibus bill, and that it did not include a RAWA attachment.
That means that the Adelson lobbyists will have to start promoting the bill again next year, giving US internet gambling a brief breathing space.
Among those flagging the non-attachment of the RAWA was John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance, who tweeted: "CRomnibus will not carry internet #poker prohibition pushed by Adelson. Kudos to all of you who made your voice heard."
Other sources revealed that the Republican Party Speaker of the House, John Boehner, had nixed attempts by political colleagues to attach the RAWA to the omnibus spending bill, nicknamed Cromnibus by lawmakers.
Two sources claimed that Boehner has personally called Adelson to inform him of his decision.
Late Tuesday, the Associated Press news agency reported that with time running short, Republicans and Democrats have finally agreed the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill to avoid a government shutdown.
The massive Cromnibus contains a plethora of wide-ranging pork barrel amendments hammered out, mostly behind closed doors, by politicians of both parties, including one that increases the cap on individual contributions to politicians seeking office by a massive factor of ten.
The campaign finance reform was slipped in at the last minute and boosts the amount that an individual can contribute to various national political party accounts and committees each year from $32,400 to $324,000.
AP points out that this means individuals could give $648,000 per two-year campaign cycle, with a married couple capped at almost $1.3 million for an election cycle.
Other provisions cover everything from pensions to banking insurance and sending military personnel overseas to train anti-Islamic State groups….but no RAWA.
There was no immediate reaction from the White House to the Cromnibus agreement in which generally speaking the deficit-conscious Republicans strive to contain federal government spending and preserve tax breaks.
Speaker Boehner said he hoped for a vote on the measure on Thursday, whilst House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi issued a statement that said she was hopeful that Democrats would support the bill, but needed to review the final language before it was sent to the Senate.
After eight years in opposition, the Republicans will have a Senate majority in January 2015 following the party's successful midterm election.