Capitol to Capitol | June 10, 2019

















The House will begin floor action this week on a $900 billion discretionary spending package. The measure will include five FY 2020 spending bills—Labor-Health and Human Services-Education, Legislative Branch, Defense, State-Foreign Operations, and Energy and Water Development. The House continues to consider next steps on the Mueller Report. It has been reported that top Senate Republicans will meet this week with White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and acting director for the Office of Management and Budget Russ Vought to discuss FY 2020 spending bills. The Senate also continues to work on the president’s nominations.

House Passes the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019 

On June 5, the House of Representatives passed the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019 by a vote of 237 to 187. Divided into three major sections, the legislation would establish a pathway to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of individuals who have or have had deferred deportation status. Over 1.2 million recipients of programs like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Temporary Protect Status, and Deferred Enforcement Departure would be affected. The bill has been sent to the Senate where it is expected to face considerable opposition. For more information, read the NCSL Blog and the NCSL HR 6 summary.  The Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate of the direct spending and revenue effects can be found here.

NCSL Contacts: Susan Frederick and Chesterfield Polkey


During the Normandy invasion on D-Day, thousands of flat-bottom boats invented by Andrew Higgins safely carried small vehicles and troops from ships directly to Omaha Beach, the most heavily fortified German sector. Higgins’ invention—Higgins boats—dramatically changed the outcome of the Normandy landings 75 years ago and is what President Dwight D. Eisenhower said won World War II for the Allies.

President Trump Signs Disaster Aid Package

President Donald Trump last Tuesday signed a $19 billion disaster aid package for states in the Southeast, Midwest, California, Puerto Rico and others still reeling largely from 2018 and 2019 wildfire and disaster season damage. The extensive measure seems to touch on every facet of communities in recovery:

  • Provides nearly $2.5 billion for Community Development Block Grants-Disaster Recovery, which states and localities administer for reconstruction of roads, housing and businesses.
  • Provides $600 million for Economic Development Assistance grants meant to help areas affected by 2018 and 2019 disasters with long-term recovery.
  • Allocates $3 billion via the Department of Agriculture for farmers facing crop and livestock losses.

The measure also contains funding for clean water, prisons, military bases, and even day cares and mental health treatment. California, Florida and Texas are projected to be the biggest beneficiaries of the package, though the measure includes $1.4 billion for Puerto Rico as well.

NCSL Contacts: Susan Frederick and Lucia Bragg

OMB Request for Comments on Consumer Price Indexes and Impact on Official Poverty Measure

Last month the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requested comments on differences between consumer price indexes created by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of Economic Analysis and how the different indexes can influence the Official Poverty Measure (OPM) and other income measures. The request is also looking at using different kinds of annual adjustments including the impact of switching to a “chained” Consumer Price Index. OPM measures are used to determine income eligibility for several health and human services programs including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. OMB hasn’t made a change to current measurements in four decades and wants to see if any are needed for determining eligibility moving forward. Comments can be submitted until June 21, 2019.

NCSL Contacts: Haley Nicholson and Margaret Wile

House Hearing:  State and Local Tax (SALT) Deduction

In late June, the House Ways and Means Committee is expected to hold a hearing to discuss potential changes to the $10,000 cap placed in the SALT deduction as part of the 2017 tax reform package. A full elimination of the cap wears a $620 billion price tag over 10 years.

NCSL Contact: Erlinda Doherty

House Hearing: Education and Disaster Recovery


On June 10, 1919, Wisconsin became the first state to ratify the 19th amendment granting national suffrage to women. Fourteen months later, on Aug. 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment was added to the Constitution, after being ratified by 36 of the then 48 states.  More on the upcoming 100th anniversary of women’s voting rights can be found here.

On June 5, the House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing on “This is Not a Drill:  Education-Related Response and Recovery in the Wake of Natural Disasters.” The committee members heard testimony from leaders in California, Florida, Virgin Islands and the Northern Marinas. Watch the hearing here.

NCSL Contact: Joan Wodiska

NCSL Hosts Joint Webinar on Opportunity Zones

On June 6, NCSL was joined by representatives from The Governance Project and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation in a webinar covering Opportunity Zones: State Strategies to Support Investments. Created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, opportunity zones are a new federal tax incentive to encourage investment in low-income and undercapitalized communities. During the webinar, Stephanie Copeland of The Governance Project mentioned that state legislators may support the work of opportunity zones by “knowing where the opportunity zones are in their districts; establishing a state task force committed to developing a sustainable plan to attract capital; and designating a state coordinator to facilitate these processes.”

This webinar is made possible with the generous support of The Pew Charitable Trusts. Visit the webinar event page for more information.

NCSL Contacts: Jon Jukuri and Miranda McDonald

Update: Tariff on Mexican Imports Stalled

Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other senior officials met last week with Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebard to discuss actions taken by the Mexican government to curtail immigration. These discussions followed Trump’s previously announced intent to impose a 5% tariff on all imports from Mexico beginning on June 10. The tariff would increase to 10% on July 1 unless Mexico takes more direct actions limiting migrants from crossing the United States border. 

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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
  • Erlinda Doherty | 202-624-8698 | Budgets and Revenue
  • Susan Frederick | 202-624-3566 | Law, Criminal Justice, and Public Safety
  • Abbie Gruwell 202-624-3569 | Commerce and Financial 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 and Human Services
  • Joan Wodiska | 202-624-3558 | Education