Author

Jacob Fischler

Jacob Fischler

Jacob covers federal policy as a senior reporter for States Newsroom. Based in Oregon, he focuses on Western issues. His coverage areas include climate, energy development, public lands and infrastructure.

Supreme Court blocks Biden workplace vaccine rule, allows health care workers mandate

By: - January 13, 2022

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday dealt a blow to the Biden administration’s fight against the pandemic, blocking a federal mandate that workers be vaccinated or regularly tested for COVID-19 — though the court allowed a separate rule requiring vaccinations for some health care workers. The two rulings represented a split victory for Republican attorneys general from Ohio, Missouri, […]

Supreme Court appears wary of Biden vaccine-or-test employer mandate

By: - January 10, 2022

The U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority appeared unconvinced Friday of the Biden administration’s authority to impose a vaccine-or-test mandate on private businesses, casting doubt on a key piece of the White House COVID-19 response. The justices seemed potentially more comfortable with another Biden administration rule to fight the virus that requires certain health care workers […]

‘We thought that we would die’: Lawmakers probe painful Jan. 6 memories

By: - January 6, 2022

Democrats in Congress marked the anniversary of the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Thursday recounting the terror they experienced first-hand — and argued that it gives them even more reason to pursue voting rights legislation. They remembered the desperate scramble to hang on to the boxes that held the presidential vote tally, the rush […]

Federal judge blocks Biden vaccine mandate for Head Start workers in 24 states

By: - January 4, 2022

A Louisiana federal judge has put a hold on President Joe Biden’s mandate that Head Start workers be vaccinated against COVID-19. U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty, a former President Trump appointee who previously ruled against a vaccine mandate for health care workers, issued a preliminary injunction on New Year’s Day restricting the executive branch from enforcing […]

Federal law still treats marijuana as an illegal drug, creating headaches for states

By: - January 1, 2022

Most states in the U.S. are in violation of a major federal drug statute.  The 1971 Controlled Substances Act lists marijuana in the most dangerous category defined in the law, on par with cocaine and heroin because of its supposed potential for abuse and lack of medical applications.  But 36 states plus the District of […]

Biden extends student loan repayment pause three more months

By: - December 22, 2021

President Joe Biden will continue a pandemic-spurred pause on student loan repayments until May 1, he said Wednesday. Loan repayments were set to restart Jan. 31, following months of the U.S. Education Department not requiring payments during the pandemic. Biden told the department to extend the moratorium initially placed by President Donald Trump’s administration. It […]

Haaland promises governors federal help for fires, drought

By: - December 22, 2021

U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland pledged federal resources and cooperation with governors from 19 Western states to tackle wildfire resilience, drought management, oil and gas cleanup efforts and other issues made more difficult by climate change. Speaking at the Western Governors Association meeting outside San Diego last week, Haaland touted funding for Interior priorities in […]

Schumer vows U.S. Senate action on voting rights and social policy, as Manchin rift deepens

By: - December 20, 2021

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday he plans to force votes on voting rights, a sweeping social policy bill and a change to Senate rules early next year — even as members of his caucus have made clear in recent days Democrats lack the support to pass those proposals. In a letter to […]

Arizona Sen. Sinema opposes filibuster carveout to advance voting rights legislation

By: - December 17, 2021

Arizona’s enigmatic U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema remains opposed to weakening the Senate’s 60-vote threshold for moving ahead on legislation, even as other Democrats are floating the idea of making an exception to the chamber’s rules to pass major voting rights measures. In a statement to States Newsroom, a Sinema spokeswoman said the senator supports the […]

U.S. House Dems pass anti-Islamophobia bill, condemn Boebert remarks

By: - December 15, 2021

The U.S. House following a vitriolic debate passed a bill along party lines Tuesday night to create a State Department office that would counter Islamophobia worldwide. Democrats said a conflict much closer to home showed the need to confront anti-Muslim bigotry. The bill sponsored by Rep. Ilhan Omar, (D-Minn.), picked up momentum after Colorado Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert […]

Infrastructure law fixes Amtrak funding woes, House panel hears

By: - December 14, 2021

WASHINGTON — The leader of Amtrak told a U.S. House panel Thursday that the recently enacted infrastructure law made great strides to solving the passenger rail system’s financial woes and placed it on equal footing with other modes of transportation. Democrats on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s rail subcommittee and Amtrak Executive Director Stephen Gardner […]

Billions targeted to state wildlife conservation under bipartisan push in Congress

By: - December 13, 2021

A bipartisan pair of senators on Wednesday called for Congress to approve billions in new funding for states to manage wildlife recovery work. At a hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Sens. Martin Heinrich, (D-N.M.), and Roy Blunt, (R-Mo.), said a bill they introduced this year would help protect 1,600 threatened species, relieve the […]