/*PenDragn: Another Shady Deal in the Republican Controlled Congress*/


Another Shady Deal in the Republican Controlled Congress

Internet Gambling, Port Deals Reached
House and Senate negotiators reached agreement last night on legislation to tighten maritime and port security regulations and, in a last-minute move, added an unrelated measure that seeks to ban Internet gambling

Get it? An unrelated measure banning payments to off-shore Internet gambling sites suddenly gets popped into a "must pass" bill on port security just before the conference votes. (And important funding for rail and mass transit funds was slipped out, because we don't have to worry about those subways now do we?)

This last minute action is important because at it came at a point where there is little discussion or input from anyone except for Congressional leaders and those seeking backroom deals whether Congress members or lobbyists. Well, apparently American gambling interests had their lobbyists working overtime this weekend.

The Sydney Morning Herald writes:

THE US Government stunned the online gambling industry over the weekend by passing laws that effectively ban the services from their biggest market.


The US Senate, which was expected to block the legislation, sneaked the bill through early Saturday morning US time, following some last-minute manoeuvring ahead of the Senate break for mid-term elections.

The bill outlaws the processing of bets for online gaming companies, effectively preventing US banks and credit card companies from doing business with the operators. It could be signed into law by President Bush as early as this week.

The bill excludes US-based online betting on services like horse racing and lotteries and has no impact on American casinos and other gambling operations.

Uh, Boys and Girls can you say protectionism? What about all the garbage on how great World Trade is? Ha Ha! The American gambling industry has lots and lots of money to deliver to the slimy hands of Republicans doesn't it? Do you? So why do you think they'll protect your job?

And about the removal of funding for rail and transportation safety, the Post article notes:

The changes angered some Democrats, who helped craft the original port security legislation but were largely blocked from the final negotiations. The Senate had overwhelmingly approved the authorization of $3.5 billion for mass-transit security grants and $1 billion for freight and passenger rail programs, but House Republicans balked at the cost.

"If Republicans leave town [after] stripping out all the sections protecting major sectors of out transportation sector, God help us if there's an attack," said Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.