Things still testy on Capitol Hill?

Sens. Harry Reid and Dean Heller may have had breakfast together — chaperoned by Gov. Brian Sandoval — but it’s not clear that a beautiful friendship is developing between the two. Today, they clashed again over an old issue, an Internet poker bill stalled in the Senate.

Asked by reporters why the Internet poker bill hasn’t moved, Reid replied, “Republicans.” (Read all about it in a story by Stephens Media Washington Bureau writer Peter Urban.)

Told of Reid’s comments, Heller replied with a quip of his own: “That’s his answer to everything — blame Republicans.”

Then again, Reid claims to have the votes in place on the Democratic side to move the bill, which would outlaw all online gambling except for poker, and award licenses in a way that would benefit Nevada casino operators. He and Heller clashed before the election when Reid said Heller had been unable to produce any of the Republican votes necessary to get a bill passed.

At the time, in a tense exchange of letters, Heller said it would be better to let the House of Representatives produce legislation that could then be modified in the Senate. But in Urban’s story today, Heller seems to be searching for GOP votes to move a Senate bill. “I am beating the bushes,” Heller said.

He may have an uphill task. While there’s plenty of support in Congress for outlawing Internet gambling outright, carving out a poker exception may be a tough task. Reid has been working with Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl on the bill, but other that Kyl and Heller, Republican votes are scarce.

Not only that, but Stephens Media Washington Bureau’s Steve Tetreault reported last week that the present version of the Reid-Kyl bill — which would penalize companies that engaged in illegal Internet poker operations — may be vulnerable to constitutional challenges.

Maybe Reid and Heller can work it out at this week’s breakfast?


9 Responses to “Things still testy on Capitol Hill?”

  1. Jerry Sturdivant says:

    Republicans: Still blocking Americans’ freedoms.

  2. Steve says:

    “That’s his answer to everything — blame Republicans.” Jerry.

  3. Jerry Sturdivant says:

    That’s your answer to pointing out Republicans’ obstructions — denial.

  4. Steve says:

    Proving Heller’s point once again, Jerry.

  5. Jerry Sturdivant says:

    And my point that it’s Republicans’, “still blocking Americans’ freedoms.”

  6. Steve says:

    You just keep proving Heller correct.

  7. ED says:

    With the Abramoff and Ralph Reed element, getting born again wackos to oppose gambling would bring in big bucks. If you do not want your gambling venture to be opposed by the religious wackos, pour money into the right pac or to the right candidate or politician. A Rico Republiklan organized shake down racket. Frank Nitti would envy it.

  8. Jerry Sturdivant says:

    Part of the reason it’s not being taken too serious is that most of us in the know; know we can still play poker on line for money. Seems the feds have given a wink and a nod to sites like Bovada and Carbon Poker, among others. It’s all in knowing how to get around the law and send money to your offshore account. At least I’m still playing.

  9. Steve says:

    The mob called gamblers suckers. They did not partake of their product. Any Las Vegan knows gambling is a losers bet. Hell, even the easterners know it. “Gambling, by any name, is a tax on suckers” Boston Globe headline. Feb 15 2010.