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Gila Bend Indian Reservation Lands Replacement Clarification Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. SCHWEIKERT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Speaker, I come to this with a somewhat unique view, because I was actually there 19 years ago as the majority whip in the Arizona State House when this was originally being negotiated. I sat in the room hour after hour after hour for months with many of these Native American communities and these very discussions about what would happen in this type of scenario and assurances that were given to those of us who were in the legislature who were having to make the decision that this would never happen.

And I've listened to a little bit of this testimony, even from my good friend here from California, and the facts don't line up. First off, in the gaming agreements, in the compacts, there's the language about the distance from the base aboriginal territories and how far things could move away from that. This is outside that. The jobs numbers are an absolute fantasy for the construction. And I think Mr. Franks actually went over that in his discussion earlier.

But why do I stand here so passionately supporting Trent's bill? If this happens, it's going to destroy the nature of my State because, understand, the compacts go kaboom, the cascade begins. And this isn't just for Arizona. It will be all over the country. I promise you, in a few years you will wake up and my State will be a statewide gaming State. And then when this becomes precedent, understand, all your States are now in play.

This is more than just us having a dispute with the Tohono O'odhams. That isn't what this is about. This is about keeping the promises that were made for many of us who were embattled in building these compacts years ago.

Let's have everyone keep their promise, and let's keep the deal we made.

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Mr. SCHWEIKERT. Oh, yes. I think they have multiple casinos.

There's another fact that bounced up here, Mr. Speaker. There's actually, I think, one, two, three, four, five casinos in the urban area by, I think, three different Native American communities. This isn't about defending one tribe versus another. This is about there's 21 tribes in Arizona and the agreements that have been put together. Heaven forbid what you're going to do to these communities, particularly the rural ones that get some of the sharing, if we blow up the compacts through my State.

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