Washington, D.C., was hit by a severe winter storm this weekend. As the snow falls, adults and children alike will be free to go sledding on Capitol Hill. That may seem quite ordinary, but it’s something of a revolution in Washington, where sledding on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol has been strictly off-limits for years.
What changed? Would-be sledders have been clamoring for the ban to be lifted, so Congress effectively ended the prohibition as part of a massive $1.1 trillion spending bill approved in December. Of course, when something popular happens in Washington, someone is going to want praise. And this week, Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C.’s delegate to Congress, has been rushing to take credit. “I’ve changed the letter of the law,” Norton told local radio station WMAL on Wednesday, adding: “This was the quickest way to ensure there would be sledding if there was snow this season.”
In case the message hadn’t been delivered loud and clear, Norton’s office released a statement on Thursday declaring that raucous sledding joy could now take place on Capitol Hill thanks to her. It read: “The office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton ... expects that District of Columbia families will take advantage of potentially record-setting snowfall tomorrow and Saturday by grabbing their sleds and heading to Capitol Hill, which is now open for sledding thanks to language Norton got in the fiscal year 2016 omnibus bill.” (Norton also praised “her good friend” Democratic Congressman Sam Farr for helping to make the change.)