Congressman William Keating performed what some said was an impossible task. He was able to pass HR 312 and pump life into the Wampanoag tribe's casino dream.

There has been a struggle for decades by the Mashpee Wampanoags to open a destination casino resort somewhere in southeastern Massachusetts. The tribe has made serious efforts in Fall River, Middleboro, and Taunton to build their facility. Along the way, they have borrowed and spent millions and millions of dollars.

The dreams of the tribe's current leadership to open a casino in Taunton had developed to the point where they had a financial arrangement with the City of Taunton, possession of the land, and construction had started on the project.

When the federal court ruled against the tribe, the construction stopped. A decision by the Trump Administration reversed an Obama Administration decision. The financial backers of the tribe declared they were considering their investment a loss. That was the ball game—or so it appeared.

The passage of Rep. Keating's bipartisan bill in the House gives the tribe renewed hope. It is now up to Sen. Elizabeth Warren to build the same bipartisan coalition in the Senate to get the bill to the desk of President Trump.

For Congressman Keating, this bill was more about the life and rights of the Cape Cod Native American tribe based in his district than it was about a casino resort facility.

"This is the tribe of the First Thanksgiving; the very tribe that is integral to our founding story," Keating said in a statement. "To deny them the right to their land is an absolute disgrace."

Now the bill heads to the Senate and we will see if they can do what Congressman Keating did for the tribe.

Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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