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House Dems delay votes on tribal bills after Trump lashes out

The legislation needed GOP support under the procedural rules.
Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: “Republicans shouldn’t vote for H.R. 312, a special interest casino Bill, backed by Elizabeth (Pocahontas) Warren,” President Donald Trump tweeted. “It is unfair and doesn’t treat Native Americans equally!” © Pete Marovich/Getty Images “Republicans shouldn’t vote for H.R. 312, a special interest casino Bill, backed by Elizabeth (Pocahontas) Warren,” President Donald Trump tweeted. “It is unfair and doesn’t treat Native Americans equally!”

Democratic leaders pulled a pair of tribal bills from the House floor Wednesday to avoid their failure after President Donald Trump — echoing complaints from the conservative media — urged Republicans to oppose the legislation.

The bills were supposed to be considered under a fast-track process requiring a two-thirds majority to pass, making the support of GOP lawmakers necessary.

The move to scrap the votes follows 24 hours of drama in the upper ranks of the GOP conference. During a Republican leadership meeting Tuesday night, Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) argued with Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), one of the bill’s co-sponsors, over the legislation, according to multiple sources. The issue also came up at a GOP-wide caucus meeting, with some members complaining that the bills were being rushed to the floor.

One of the measures, H.R. 312, would reaffirm the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe reservation as trust land in Massachusetts. The other, H.R. 375, would reaffirm the authority of the secretary of the Interior to take land into trust for Indian Tribes.

Despite the internal dispute, a bipartisan “Dear Colleague” letter went out Wednesday morning from a House Natural Resources subcommittee urging members to back the legislation.

But hours later, Trump slammed one of the measures for being sought by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), one of his Democratic rivals in 2020.

“Republicans shouldn’t vote for H.R. 312, a special interest casino Bill, backed by Elizabeth (Pocahontas) Warren,” he tweeted. “It is unfair and doesn’t treat Native Americans equally!”

Matthew Schlapp, husband of Trump’s director of strategic communications Mercedes Schlapp, lobbies for a company that is opposed to the bill. Schlapp represents Twin River Management Group, which owns two casinos in Rhode Island.

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