Author

Ariana Figueroa

Ariana Figueroa

Ariana covers the nation's capital for States Newsroom. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections and campaign finance.

Biden to order $15-an-hour minimum wage for federal contract workers

By: - April 27, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden plans to sign an executive order Tuesday to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $15 an hour, according to senior administration officials. The order will go into effect Jan. 30 of next year, according to a fact sheet provided by the administration. Once in place through new and extended […]

Dems push federal background checks on ammunition sales

By: - April 21, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut on Tuesday reintroduced legislation that would require instant background checks to prevent individuals with a criminal record from illegally purchasing ammunition. The measure backed by the Democrats, known as Jaime’s Law, is named in honor of Jaime Guttenberg, a […]

Vilsack keys in on food insecurity and nutrition in USDA budget request

By: - April 15, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday laid out USDA’s goals to expand food insecurity and nutrition programs in the president’s budget request, as well as the agency’s focus on programs to address longtime racial discrimination. “Normally I would talk to you all about numbers in the budget,” Vilsack, the former governor of […]

Up to 100 new immigration judges would be added under Biden budget request

By: - April 12, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Friday released a budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year that would increase the number of immigration judges and allocate millions in funding to clear backlogs of hearings and asylum requests. The administration is grappling with an influx of asylum seekers at the Southern border after inheriting a gutted […]

U.S. gun violence an ‘international embarrassment,’ Biden says in rolling out executive action

By: - April 8, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Thursday reiterated his call on Congress to pass stalled gun legislation reform but also outlined executive action he’s taking on several gun control measures, following deadly mass shootings last month in Colorado and Georgia. “Gun violence in this country is an epidemic and it’s an international embarrassment,” Biden said […]

Biden admin. to suggest model ‘red flag’ gun laws for states

By: - April 7, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice will distribute model “red flag” legislation to states so they can enact laws that would allow courts to temporarily remove a firearm from an individual who is distressed, according to senior Biden administration officials. “The president will not wait for Congress to act before the administration takes our own […]

New unit launched at Interior to investigate cases of missing and murdered Indigenous people

By: - April 3, 2021

The U.S. Department of the Interior is creating a new unit to lead and help coordinate investigations into the ongoing crisis of murdered and missing American Indian and Alaska Native people. Interior Secretary Debra Haaland, the first Indigenous person to lead the agency, announced Thursday the formation of the Missing & Murdered Unit within the Bureau of […]

Police officer dead after suspect rams car into barricade outside U.S. Capitol

By: - April 2, 2021

WASHINGTON — One U.S. Capitol Police officer was dead and another injured Friday after a driver slammed a car into a barricade outside the Capitol and struck the officers, according to law enforcement. The officer who died was identified as Officer William “Billy” Evans by police. “Officer Evans had been a member of the United […]

Voting rights advocates decry onslaught of new state election laws

By: - April 2, 2021

WASHINGTON — A U.S. House elections panel on Thursday heard from witnesses about the need to craft a new formula that identifies which states or jurisdictions have problematic histories of racial discrimination when it comes to access to the ballot box. The hearing in the House Administration Committee’s elections subcommittee also served as a way […]

Biden to unveil $2T plan to rebuild infrastructure, create jobs, move to clean energy

By: - March 31, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Wednesday in Pennsylvania will unveil a nearly $2 trillion infrastructure package to rebuild highways and bridges, along with funding programs for housing, broadband and schools and increasing U.S. manufacturing jobs over the next eight years, an administration official told reporters on Tuesday night. Alongside the expansive infrastructure plan, the president […]

Special report: Dozens of members of Congress are vaccinated against COVID-19, but some still hesitate

By: and - March 30, 2021

WASHINGTON — Members of Congress were among the first people in the United States to have access to the sought-after COVID-19 vaccine when the initial doses became available in December. Three months later, a States Newsroom survey across 22 states — making up a large swath of Congress — found at least 155 members of the U.S. […]

House Agriculture panel probes ‘systemic’ USDA discrimination against Black farmers

By: - March 26, 2021

WASHINGTON  — The House Agriculture Committee on Thursday heard about how Black farmers have faced decades of racial discrimination in their dealings with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The committee’s chair, Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.), said the testimony at the virtual hearing would help the panel craft legislation that aims to increase the number of […]