Capitol to Capitol | July 16, 2018

“Setting the States’ Agenda” at NCSL Legislative Summit


Sports championships (and government shutdowns) may lead to baby booms?

The euphoria and excitement of major sporting events, such as the World Cup, is believed to lead to sharp increases of births in the host country as well as the winning nation. In 2006, German hospitals reported a sharp rise in births nine months after the country hosted the World Cup and finished third. The same thing happened in Iceland nine months after their historic win against England at the 2016 Euro Cup.

In Washington, D.C., a similar baby boom may have occurred in 2013 as a result of the 17-day shutdown of the federal government. 

NCSL’s Standing Committees meet twice each year to develop policy directives and resolutions on state-federal issues to guide NCSL's advocacy in Washington, D.C.

NCSL's Washington staff lobby Congress, the White House and federal agencies on behalf of state legislatures in accord with the policy directives and resolutions recommended by the Standing Committees and adopted at the NCSL Legislative Summit. Because of the policy decisions of the Standing Committees, NCSL is nationally recognized as a formidable lobbying force in state-federal relations.

Below is a link to the policy directives and resolutions the NCSL Standing Committees expect to consider during their meetings on Monday and Tuesday, July 30-31, during the 2018 Legislative Summit in Los Angeles. Final votes on all policy directives and resolutions reported from the Standing Committees will take place at the Setting the States' Agenda Business Meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 1 from 8-9:45 a.m.

For more information, contact Neal Osten or Molly Ramsdell at (202) 624-5400 or

NCSL Contacts: Neal Osten, Molly Ramsdell

This Week on Capitol Hill

Both the House and Senate reconvene today.

  • Lawmakers in both chambers are keeping a close eye on the meeting President Donald Trump had this morning with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The meeting comes three days after 12 Russians were indicted as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
  • House Republican leaders are considering voting on the progressive-backed measure to abolish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) (H.R. 6361). While the measure is expected to overwhelmingly fail, given that even the sponsors of the legislation have signaled that they will vote against it, many Republicans believe a vote will weaken the hand of Democrats in an election year. Last week, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.)  told The Hill that, "Democrats have been trying to make July 4th about abolishing ICE, which is a radical, extreme position that would lead to open borders and undermine America's national security. I think everyone ought to be on record about where they stand on that issue."
  • As has been the case for most of Trump’s presidency, the Senate this week will allot most of its floor time to confirming executive branch appointments. Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, is also expected to continue making the rounds with Senators ahead of his confirmation hearings. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said last week that he expects that the full Senate will vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination before the court’s new term starts in October. 
  • The House is expected to vote on a package of appropriations bills (more on that below).

Debate to Begin on Second Minibus Funding Bill  


Tomorrow night, Baseball’s All-Star Game will return to the nation’s capital for the first time in 49 years. Here are some facts about the Midsummer Classic:

  • The first All-Star Game was held in Chicago's Comiskey Park on July 6, 1933, where Babe Ruth hit the first home run in All-Star Game history. The American League won 4-2.
  • From 1959 to 1962, the American and National Leagues played two All-Star Games each year. The primary reason for the second game was to raise more money for the players’ pension fund.
  • Pete Rose was an All-Star at a record five different positions: 1B, 2B, 3B, LF and RF.
  • Gary Sheffield and Moises Alou each were an All-Star for five different teams.

House leadership plans to bring two more spending bills to the floor this week, making it the second minibus funding bill for FY 2019. Leadership plans to combine H.R. 6147, the Interior-Environment appropriations bill, with H.R. 6258, the Financial Services and General Government appropriations legislation. While these measures are traditionally not the most controversial of the 12 annual funding bills, you can expect that there will still be contentious debate on issues that include Scott Pruitt’s controversial exit from the EPA, federal jobs for young immigrants, financial transactions with marijuana vendors and reviving net neutrality to name a few.

Meanwhile, the first minibus spending bill covering funding for the legislative branch, energy and water, and military construction and veterans’ affairs is running into some speed bumps of its own. Last Thursday, a conference committee to hash out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the first packaged spending bill was abruptly cancelled after Republican leadership got wind of an amendment Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) planned to offer that would allow funds to be spent outside legal spending caps for veterans’ health programs.

Reminder: Congress has until Sept. 30 to pass all 12 appropriations bills or risk a cantankerous budget showdown that could result in a government shutdown right before the midterm elections.

NCSL Contacts: Max Behlke, Jake Lestock

Federal Deficit Continues to Rise

The Treasury released its monthly statement of Receipts and Outlays report last week, which states that government spending once again outpaced revenues as the federal deficit rose 16 percent in the first three quarters of this fiscal year. Through July 1, the total government shortfall was $607 billion, compared to $523 billion at the same time last year.

The biggest drivers of the deficit increase were related to defense spending, Social Security, health programs and interest payments. Also of note, revenue from individual taxes is up slightly, at $1.3 trillion compared to $1.2 trillion last year, while corporate revenue is down $161 billion.

NCSL Contacts: Max Behlke, Jake Lestock

Send us your facts! We will share them in upcoming issues of Capitol-to-Capitol!

NCSL Contact: Max Behlke

Education Department Approves ESSA Plans of California and Utah

Last week, the Department of Education announced the approval of California and Utah’s consolidated state plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). On both states’ approval, Secretary Betsy DeVos said, “I look forward to seeing how these states utilize the flexibilities afforded in ESSA to rethink education and to improve outcomes for all students.”

To date, Florida is the only state awaiting federal approval of its proposed state plan.

NCSL Contacts: Joan Wodiska, Miranda McDonald

HHS Holds Meeting and Secret Service Releases Report on School Safety

On July 11, the Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center released a guide, “Enhancing School Safety Using a Threat Assessment Model: An Operational Guide for Preventing Targeted School Violence.” Since the April 1999 Columbine High School tragedy, the Secret Service has teamed with the Department of Education to produce various studies on school safety. The guide serves as an assessment resource to equip schools with measures to develop violence prevention plans. View the  complete guide.

Also on July 11, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar II hosted the Federal Commission on School Safety (FCSS) meeting, which focused primarily on behavioral health integration in America’s schools. A livestream of the FCSS meeting can be found here.

For more information on upcoming commission meetings, visit the FCSS website.

NCSL Contacts: Joan Wodiska, Miranda McDonald (Education) Susan Frederick, Lucia Bragg (Public Safety)

On This Day, July 16, in…

  • 1973,  Alexander P. Butterfield informed the Senate committee investigating the Watergate affair of the existence of recorded tapes.
  • 1969, Apollo 11 blasted off from Cape Kennedy, Fla., and began the first manned mission to land on the moon.
  • 1957, Marine Major John Glenn set a transcontinental speed record when he flew a jet from California to New York in three hours, 23 minutes and eight seconds.
  • 1935, Oklahoma City became the first city in the U.S. to install parking meters.
  • 1790, The District of Columbia, or Washington, D.C., was established as the permanent seat of the United States Government.


Also of Note…


Since the establishment of the Supreme Court in 1789, presidents have submitted 162 nominations for the court. Of the 162, the Senate confirmed 125, though seven have declined to serve.

Our first president, George Washington, nominated 11 justices to the Supreme Court, the most of any president. President William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Andrew Johnson and Jimmy Carter are the only presidents not to nominate a confirmed Supreme Court Justice.

  • New EPA chief draws sharp contrast to Pruitt (The Hill): Andrew Wheeler quickly made waves in his first week as the interim head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), drawing a sharp contrast with his predecessor.
  • State abortion ballots prepare for post-Roe world (Politico): Many states have turned to both ballot measures and legislation to enact abortion policy in the event of a dramatic Supreme Court decision.
  • The Midwest eases its Trump swoon and flirts again with Democratic candidates (Washington Post): The region that swung the presidency to the Republican now looks to candidates who pledge to keep him in check.
  • Trey Gowdy dismisses a House effort to oust Rod Rosenstein: 'Impeach him for what? No'  (Washington Examiner): House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) dismissed an effort by House conservatives to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
  • Mueller reveals depth of states' election vulnerabilities (Politico): Special counsel Robert Mueller's latest indictment offers new details of just how deeply Russian operatives have infiltrated state and local election agencies across the U.S.—adding to years of warnings about the technologies that underpin American democracy.


Read the July 9, 2018, Capitol-to-Capitol.

Have ideas or suggestions for how Capitol-to-Capitol can be improved? Please take two minutes to let us know in this very short survey

We are always looking for interesting trivia about states, legislatures and American history. If you have some great facts, don't keep them to yourself.  Let us know by clicking this link. We will likely include them in a future edition of Capitol to Capitol!

If you have comments or suggestions regarding Capitol-to-Capitol, please contact Jake Lestock.

NCSL's Advocacy in Washington

NCSL's Washington staff advocate Congress, the White House, and federal agencies on behalf of state legislatures in accord with the policy directives and resolutions that are recommended by the NCSL Standing Committees and adopted by the full conference at the annual NCSL Legislative Summit Business Meeting. As a result of the advocacy that is guided by these policies positions, NCSL is recognized as a formidable lobbying force in state-federal relations.

NCSL Staff in Washington, D.C.

  • Molly Ramsdell | 202-624-3584 | Director
  • Jake Lestock | 202-624-8171 | Budgets and Revenue
  • Danielle Dean | 202-624-8698 | Communications, Financial Services
  • Susan Frederick | 202-624-3566 | Law, Criminal Justice, and Public Safety
  • Abbie Gruwell 202-624-3569 | Human Services
  • Ben Husch | 202-624-7779 | Natural Resources and Infrastructure 
  • Jon Jukuri  | 202-624-8663 | Labor, Economic Development and International Trade
  • Haley Nicholson | 202-624-8662 | Health
  • Ethan Wilson | 202-624-8686 | Commerce and Financial Services
  • Joan Wodiska | 202-624-3558 | Education