A federal bill that aims to block the Tohono O'odham Nation from building a casino in Glendale is scheduled for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives today.
HR2839 seeks to prevent the casino, in part because Glendale residents didn't know a casino would or ever could be built on city land.
Arizona's U.S. Rep. Trent Franks sponsored the bill, and fellow Arizona Republican Reps. Jeff Flake, Paul Gosar, Ben Quayle and David Schweikert also support it.
The issue dates back to the 1980s, when the tribal nation was allowed to purchase land to replace reservation land flooded by federal dams.
Democratic Rep. Raúl Grijalva opposes the bill, saying it reneges on a federal settlement with the Tohono O'odham Nation.
"Congress guaranteed via statute that the Nation could obtain replacement reservation lands within three counties, without restriction as to the use of that land. HR2938 seeks to renege on Congress’s solemn promise, and change the material terms of that settlement,” he said in remarks on the House floor this week.
The bill would open the door to changing any past federal settlement, he says, adding it violates the original agreement negotiated between the tribe and several Republican lawmakers from Arizona, including Mo Udall, John McCain and Barry Goldwater.
Additionally, Grijalva says it prevents the Tohono O’odham from creating jobs.