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. Before joining States Newsroom, Ariana covered public health and chemical policy on Capitol Hill for E&E News. As a Florida native, she's worked for the Miami Herald and her hometown paper, the Tampa Bay Times. Her work has also appeared in the Chicago Tribune and NPR. She is a graduate of the University of Florida.

‘Tell the truth,’ college president says of struggle to vaccinate returning students

By: - June 18, 2021

WASHINGTON — Leaders in higher education from Florida and Louisiana on Thursday related how colleges coped with a rough year of online learning and vaccine distribution amid the pandemic, during a hearing before the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee. The hearing included Dr. Reynold Verret, the president of Xavier University of Louisiana, […]

Mayors of U.S. cities plead for federal funds to alleviate housing crisis

By: - June 17, 2021

WASHINGTON — The mayors of cities in Ohio, Montana and Arizona stressed the need for affordable housing to be included in any congressional infrastructure package during a Tuesday hearing before the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs Committee. Mayors Daniel Horrigan of Akron, Ohio, Cyndy Andrus of Bozeman, Mont., and Corey Woods of Tempe, […]

Justice Department to increase legal staff amid surge in restrictive voting laws

By: - June 14, 2021

WASHINGTON—The Department of Justice announced Friday that it is doubling its enforcement attorneys who will work to protect voting rights. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s announcement came as Republicans in state legislatures introduce and pass restrictive voting laws, such as limiting ballot boxes and requiring voter identification. “We are scrutinizing new laws that seek to […]

Ilhan Omar tweet prompts dispute among House Democrats

By: - June 10, 2021

WASHINGTON—U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) on Thursday faced a backlash from Democratic colleagues and leaders in the House after she tweeted a video of a virtual exchange she had with Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing. But some House Democratic allies also rose to Omar’s defense, saying that critics […]

Frustrated local leaders urge Congress to move faster on regulating PFAS

By: - June 9, 2021

WASHINGTON—Local officials and community leaders on Wednesday pushed Congress to designate toxic chemicals that are contaminating drinking water as hazardous materials, which would trigger federal cleanup standards. In addition, two Democratic senators from Michigan, Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, introduced legislation that would put additional obligations on the Pentagon to initiate cleanup at military bases. […]

Colonial Pipeline CEO: ‘One of the toughest decisions I have had to make’ to pay a $4.4M ransom

By: - June 9, 2021

WASHINGTON — The CEO of Colonial Pipeline, which underwent a ransomware attack in early May that led to massive shutdowns of gas stations across the Southeast, said during a U.S. Senate hearing on Tuesday that it was his decision to pay a ransom to restore the company’s operations. “It was one of the toughest decisions […]

Kyrsten Sinema’s voting record in the spotlight following Biden remarks

By: - June 7, 2021

WASHINGTON—The White House on Wednesday said that comments made earlier this week by President Joe Biden about “two members of the Senate who vote more with my Republican friends” were not a criticism of moderate Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin. Biden did not name the senators, but they were widely considered to be […]

Bill of rights for manufactured housing residents introduced in Congress

By: - May 27, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne is pushing for tenants’ rights to extend to residents of manufactured housing communities to protect them from predatory rent hikes. The Iowa Democrat introduced two pieces of legislation last week. One bill aims to establish a set of minimum standards and protections for tenants of manufactured housing communities, which are […]

House GOP leader condemns Greene comparison of mask-wearing and the Holocaust

By: - May 25, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Tuesday condemned remarks by Georgia’s Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene comparing the wearing of masks and vaccination logos to the persecution and murder of Jews by Nazis during the Holocaust. Greene, a Republican, in an interview last week with the Christian Broadcasting Network made the comparison, according […]

Congressional Dems scrutinize state elections laws for impact on minority voters

By: - May 25, 2021

WASHINGTON — Members of a U.S. House panel on Monday debated whether some state elections laws disenfranchise certain voters, including people of color, and split along party lines in their conclusions. The chair of the elections subcommittee of the House Administration Committee, Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), voiced his concerns about recent voting requirement laws […]

Republican AGs object to U.S. Department of Education proposal on teaching about racism

By: - May 24, 2021

WASHINGTON — More than two dozen Republican attorneys general are voicing their disapproval over the Department of Education’s proposed priorities for teaching K-12 students about American history and civics education because they would include references to systemic racism and how the history of slavery has shaped the U.S. The state attorneys general argue in a May 19 letter to Education Secretary […]

Electric buses, asphalt and bridges: Politicians jostle for federal transportation cash

By: and - May 21, 2021

WASHINGTON — The nearly $1 billion that U.S. Rep. Garret Graves is seeking through Congress’ revamped earmarks process isn’t a typo. The Louisiana Republican says Baton Rouge desperately needs a new bridge to alleviate a crush of roadway congestion — at a cost of $955.2 million for several projects. That far exceeds the $20 million that […]