House approves bill to aid casino bid by Massachusetts tribe

Washington — The House has approved a bill reaffirming the right of a Massachusetts tribe to hold land in trust, a crucial step to building a $1 billion casino.

The bill, approved 275-146, would allow the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe to hold 321 acres of reservation land in trust, despite a decision by the Trump administration that threatens its control. The Interior Department said last year that the tribe doesn't qualify to place the land in trust because it wasn't under federal jurisdiction when the Indian Reorganization Act passed in 1934.

The dispute was thrust into the national spotlight last week after President Donald Trump criticized the bill on Twitter and urged Republicans to oppose it.

Democratic Rep. Bill Keating of Massachusetts said the measure was needed to ensure the tribe's survival.

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