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Keep the Promise Act of 2013

Date: Sept. 17, 2013
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. SCHWEIKERT. Mr. Speaker, I thank Congressman Gosar, and from all of us, I see Peggy has slipped off the floor, but happy birthday.

Mr. Speaker, I actually come here before the body with somewhat of a unique perspective on what's going on here. And I hate to admit that I'm getting this old, but in 1993, I was the majority whip in the Arizona State house. I was the one who was assigned to work as a negotiator on the original IGRA compacts between the State of Arizona--the legislature had to put its text together--and the tribal communities, our 21 land-holding tribes within the State of Arizona. So I spent a year of my life with lawyers and tribal members and their lawyers and members of the legislature and members of the Governor's office going over this over and over.

And the concern that constantly came up was, if we make this deal as IGRA, that had passed a few years earlier and was sponsored by one of our U.S. Senators, are we confident that this very situation that's happening right now would not happen.

Look, I know many of the players have changed in those 20 years, but this is what we talked about. And now I need to take you to the next reason: Why is this so dangerous to our State?

Arizona does something, and I don't know if it's unique to our State, but there's the ability for my poor rural tribal communities to transfer their machines to urban communities. I believe if this casino goes into my metropolitan area, my State, within a couple years, becomes a full-scale gaming State because the horse track and the others are already lining up, gearing up, I believe, to do the initiative, saying, hey, we all thought we had this deal. Look what's happening. They're coming into your neighborhood. Let's just put it on the ballot and let everyone participate in full-scale gaming. And the moment that happens, the value of the machine transfer for these poor rural tribes that are just now starting to build that consistent cash flow will go away.

This is much more than just dealing with the Tohono O'odham and where their aboriginal lands are and this acquisition of lands that are 100 miles beyond. This is an issue of: Are you about to allow something to happen that will change the very nature of my State?