RAWA Bill Discussion Postponed in a US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Crime
The Restoration of America’s Wire Act was scheduled to be discussed on March 5 in the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations. Since first posting this story, the meeting has been canceled, but it should be rescheduled for the legislative schedule sometime in the near future, when the eastern seaboard is no longer buffeted with winter storms.
The meeting has been postponed for Thursday, March 6 due to the same inclement weather. When the hearings do begin, Legal US Poker Sites will cover the discussion.
Short History of the RAWA
RAWA, as many call it, was introduced first back in March 2014. Rep. Jason Chaffetz and Sen. Lindsey Graham sponsored the bill in each house of Congress. RAWA contained provisions which would ban all online gambling in the United States, across all 50 states.
The bill never got much traction in the 2014 sessions of Congress. Chaffetz hoped to have it included in the Omnibus spending bill in December 2014, but Mitch McConnell would not attach it to the bill. In February 2015, Chaffetz reintroduced the bill to the House of Representatives. The 2015 bill looks no different than the 2014 version, but Chaffetz and Graham have more power with the Republican control of the Senate and House of Representatives.
Little Chance of Passing
Despite the support of Sheldon Adelson, who has vowed to spend whatever it takes to pass a ban of online casinos and poker rooms, most experts believe Restoration of America’s Wire Act has little chance to be signed into law. While some Republican leaders are willing to sponsor it and push its passage along, many GOP members are dead-set against such a law.
Perhaps the most important one of those Republicans, Grover Norquist, is against the RAWA. Norquist believes such a law, which would ban online gambling in states with legalized gambling like New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware, it would strength federal authority over states in an arena which has traditionally been left to the state authorities.
Such a law is seen as a liberatarian’s nightmare, because it provides the federal government with the right to dictate morality laws in the privacy of a person’s home. It also greatly expands the power of the central government, while leaving state and local officials powerless–as well as voters at the state level.
Why the House Subcommittee on Crime?
Presumably, this particular subcommittee is discussing the Restoration of America’s Wire Act because it has to do with proposed criminals laws and investigations. Few people would argue that the RAWA has anything to do with terrorism or homeland security, though at least one key lawmaker would.
In the confirmation hearing for Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch, Senator Lindsey Graham asked Lynch’s views on online gambling. Then he tried to lead the discussion down the path of unregulated online gambling and its connection to foreign terrorist cells. According to Graham, some unregulated Internet gaming sites are used to fund anti-American terrorism.
It’s a bizarre connection for the senator, since he is advocating for all regulated online gambling sites to be made illegal–therefore creating (if anything) more unregulated online gaming portals. If one were to follow Graham’s seeming logic, he would seem to be arguing against the provisions of the Restoration of America’s Wire Act.
The senator’s implications might be easily forgotten, if not for the scheduling of a discussion before an anti-terrorism subcommittee. It is possible those on the subcommittee might argue along similar lines. Since the committee is expected to have witnesses generally stacked to support the RAWA, that could prove to be troublesome for pro-online gambling forces.
Weather Shuts Down RAWA Hearing
In late-breaking news, the hearing before the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations has been postponed indefinitely. The reason for the postponement is the weather in Washington DC. At present, the temperature is -11ºC/12ºF and a winter storm has hit the nation’s capital.
When the legislative calendar is rescheduled, the House Subcommittee on Crime is likely to find a new time for the discussion. Some issues might be moved off the calendar due to time constraints, but with Chaffetz having newly-gained influence in the House and with him pushing the bill, it is likely to be discussed.