‘Minibus’ spending package protects Capitol Hill sledders
Among the winners in the newly released spending package that funds federal energy, veterans and legislative branch programs? Capitol Hill sledders.
An explanatory statement accompanying the “minibus” package instructs U.S. Capitol Police not to enforce regulations restricting the Capitol Grounds from being used as “playgrounds or otherwise ... when encountering snow sledders on the grounds.”
The sledding ban dates to the 19th century but had been enforced regularly only since 2001.
It gained renewed attention in early 2015, when Capitol Police indicated ahead of a big snowstorm that they planned to enforce the ban but ultimately declined to do so after the public flocked to the Capitol grounds for a “sled-in” in March.
Since then, lawmakers have included similar language in federal spending bills, saying that Capitol Police shouldn’t enforce the ban, given “the family-style neighborhood that the Capitol shares with the surrounding community.”
The broader “minibus” spending package, released Monday, includes about $147 billion in discretionary spending for fiscal 2019.
Lawmakers are hoping to get it to President Trump’s desk as early as this week, and are hoping to advance as many of the 12 annual spending bills for fiscal 2019 as they can before current-year funding expires at the end of the month.
They already have indicated that they plan to put off some of the tougher fights, such as money for Mr. Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall, until later and rely on stopgap legislation to avert a partial shutdown.