Capitol to Capitol is NCSL's state-federal newsletter.
Baseball season begins this week on Thursday, which will be the first time since 1968 that all 30 teams begin play on the same day.
The past three days in Washington have been especially noteworthy. It began on Friday when President Donald Trump signed a massive $1.3 trillion spending bill into law. On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators rallied in every state, as well as the nation’s capital, against gun violence. On Sunday evening, CBS’ “60 Minutes” aired an interview with Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, who alleged she had an affair with the president in 2006. Needless to say, Congress is relieved that today is the beginning of its two-week spring break.
The $1.3 trillion omnibus spending package that the president signed into law on Friday will likely be the last major piece of legislation to make it to his desk before the November elections. In addition to funding the government through the remainder of FY 2018, which concludes on Sept. 30, the 2,200 page bill, H.R. 1625, included numerous policy provisions that congressional negotiators debated right until the legislation was finalized on Wednesday evening. The House passed the measure (256-167) on Thursday and the Senate followed suit in the early hours of Friday, clearing the package by a vote of 65-32.
Several hours after the Senate sent the legislation to the president, Trump tweeted that he was “considering a VETO” of the package, largely because the bill failed to include $25 billion in funding for his proposed border wall in exchange for extending protections for “Dreamers.” The president also criticized Congress, Democrats, and called for the Senate to reinstate the line-item veto in their procedures (a practice ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1998).
However, after five hours of anxiety, the president put his signature on the $1.3 trillion fiscal 2018 omnibus on Friday afternoon. Trump ultimately signed the bill “because of the incredible gains we’ve been able to make for the military.” Although, he has threatened to never sign another bill like this again, stating that “I’m not going to do it again. Nobody read it. It’s only hours old. Some people don’t even know—it’s $1.3 trillion.”
Over the weekend, Washington had a little more time to dissect the giant bill entitled the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018” to see what made the cut. The major items of note include:
On Opening Day of the 1910 baseball season, William Howard Taft became the first president to throw the ceremonial first pitch. Since then, every president besides Jimmy Carter has thrown at least one ceremonial first ball for Opening Day, the All-Star Game, or the World Series.
Harry Truman was the only president to throw out left-handed and right-handed first pitches on Opening Day. He showcased his ambidextrous talents on April 18, 1950.
In broad terms, the bill increased federal spending across the board compared to FY 2017 spending levels:
NCSL’s Natural Resources and Infrastructure Committee has summarized the legislation for programs in the committee’s purview. Read the summary.
While the massive funding bill included increased funding for most programs, many high-profile policy provisions did not make the cut, including:
NCSL Contacts: Max Behlke, Jake Lestock
In response to Trump's implementation of new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, China, the No. 2 purchaser of U.S. farm goods, released on Friday morning a list of $3 billion worth of products it is considering raising tariffs on—including pork, nuts, fresh and dried fruits and wine. This list could grow, in response to a separate announcement, also on Friday, that the president was imposing an additional $60 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods.
NCSL Contacts: Ben Husch (Agriculture), Kristen Hildreth (Agriculture), Jon Jukuri (Trade)
Only once in history has each player on a professional baseball team finished a game with the same batting average with which they started.
That team was the 1940 Chicago White Sox, who entered and exited their April 16 game against the Cleveland Indians with a batting average of .000.
The reason? On April 16, 1940, Cleveland Indians pitcher Bob Feller threw the first and only Opening Day no-hitter in history.
Note: Due to the congressional recess, Capitol-to-Capitol will not publish on April 2 and will return on April 9.
Read the March 19, 2018, Capitol-to-Capitol.
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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.