The strange case of the casino, the Senate leader and the defense bill Mark Satter, Roll Call · January 15, 2022 at 3:04 pm The annual defense policy bill signed into law last month authorized billions of dollars for a vast array of Pentagon programs. It also did something else: It granted a South Carolina-based Native American tribe permission to open a casino in North Carolina. The unusual provision was shepherded by an even more unlikely ally — Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer. Each year since 1961, Congress has passed the National Defense Authorization Act, a vast piece of legislation that authorized $768 billion for the Defense Department in fiscal 2022. The measure’s size and consistent enactment has also turned it into a catchall for lawmakers’ legislative priorities that might not otherwise get a vote.