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.

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 […]

Biden calls on Senate to act on background checks after Colorado mass shooting

By: - March 24, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Tuesday urged the U.S. Senate to immediately pass legislation to close loopholes on background checks for guns and to ban assault weapons, following a mass shooting that killed 10 at a Colorado supermarket. “This should not be a partisan issue,” Biden said. “This is an American issue.” Biden’s remarks […]

Senate passes coronavirus relief, bill now returns to the House

By: - March 6, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate passed President Joe Biden’s nearly $2 trillion stimulus plan Saturday afternoon after wrangling over an amendment to trim unemployment benefits derailed the bill’s passage for nearly an entire day. The Senate version, which does not include a federal minimum wage hike and puts limits on the funding for state and […]

OMB deputy nominee Young praised for bipartisan work

By: - March 5, 2021

Shalanda Young went through another confirmation hearing as the nominee for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, as House leaders and caucuses are pushing the Biden administration to nominate her instead to lead the agency. “This position requires someone with a history of looking beyond partisanship,” U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said during […]

6 Michigan Republicans vote against sweeping voting rights package that passes U.S. House

By: and - March 4, 2021

The House passed sweeping voting rights, redistricting, campaign finance and ethics reform, late Wednesday night along party lines in a 220 to 210 vote, but the historic package will face an uphill battle in the Senate as no Republicans currently support the bill. All seven Michigan Democrats backed the bill and six Republicans voted against it. U.S. Rep. Jack […]

Michigan delegation split 7-7 on $1.9T COVID relief bill vote

By: and - February 27, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House on a nearly party-line vote passed President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic aid package early Saturday, in a rush to both boost COVID-19 vaccine funding and get legislation to the president’s desk before unemployment benefits expire in mid-March. The package, dubbed the American Rescue Plan, passed 219-212. It includes a gradual […]

U.S. Senate confirms Granholm as Energy secretary

By: - February 25, 2021

Updated, 6:02 p.m., 2/25/21 WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate on Thursday in a 64-35 vote confirmed former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm to run the Department of Energy. She is the second woman to lead the $35 billion agency. Vice President Kamala Harris swore in Granholm several hours after the Senate confirmation vote. Her husband, daughter […]

Biden backs reparations study, as House Dems push for commission

By: - February 18, 2021

WASHINGTON — The White House on Wednesday indicated that President Joe Biden would support studying reparations for slavery, the same day that House Democrats held a hearing on legislation that would set up a reparations commission. But White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stopped short of saying Biden would sign the bill under consideration by […]

Proposed $15-an-hour minimum wage would boost paychecks

By: - February 16, 2021

WASHINGTON — A gradual increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour would increase the pay of low-income workers across the United States but particularly in much of the South, researchers and experts predict. Florida recently voted to increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026, but the Sunshine State is […]