Author

Laura Olson

Laura Olson

Laura covers the nation's capital as a senior reporter for States Newsroom, a network of nonprofit outlets that includes Michigan Advance. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections, and campaign finance.

Senate Republicans block bipartisan infrastructure plan from advancing, but talks continue

By: - July 22, 2021

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats’ attempt to start debate on a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan was blocked by Republicans on a party-line vote Wednesday, as lawmakers hustle to wrap up negotiations over drafting that legislation. In the 49-51 test vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) switched his vote to “no,” a procedural move that allows […]

Top Dem: Congress should legalize weed on the federal level

By: - July 15, 2021

WASHINGTON — The top Democrat in the U.S. Senate says decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level is a change that’s “long overdue,” and that he’s prioritizing that effort amid a growing number of states legalizing cannabis. To that end, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday unveiled a draft proposal for removing cannabis from the federal […]

Here’s how the new, expanded federal child tax credit will work

By: - July 10, 2021

WASHINGTON — The most ambitious part of the pandemic stimulus package signed by President Joe Biden earlier this year is about to hit the bank accounts of millions of U.S. parents. Starting next week and ending in December, the vast majority of U.S. households with children will begin receiving monthly payments as a result of changes […]

Biden admin. defends COVID ‘surge response teams’ after GOP governor’s criticism

By: - July 8, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s key COVID-19 advisers on Thursday defended the administration’s strategies for boosting vaccinations in the states, after Missouri’s governor said federal door-to-door outreach efforts are not welcome there. Top Biden adviser Jeff Zients said anyone mischaracterizing the administration’s attempts is “doing a disservice to the country.” Missouri GOP Gov. Mike Parson […]

Chief justice highlights Michigan’s eviction diversion plan at White House

By: - July 1, 2021

WASHINGTON — With a national moratorium on evictions set to expire at the end of next month and delays in federal assistance for struggling renters, the Biden administration says it wants to help state and local officials aid Americans on the brink of eviction. To that end, the administration on Wednesday highlighted efforts in Michigan and Philadelphia to […]

2 Michigan Republicans vote against scuttling Confederate statues

By: - June 30, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House voted Tuesday to remove from the Capitol a bust of the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney, a Marylander who wrote the despised Dred Scott decision — as well as evict statues and busts of men who fought for the Confederacy or served in its government. The legislation passed on a vote of […]

Supreme Court affirms transgender rights in declining to hear school bathroom case

By: - June 28, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday that it will not hear a case of a transgender student in Virginia who was barred from using the boys’ bathroom, a decision that affirms lower-court rulings that said treating transgender students differently violates federal law. Justices on the top court offered no comment in declining to take […]

DOJ takes Georgia to court over its elections law

By: - June 25, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Friday that the Department of Justice is suing the state of Georgia to overturn a sweeping elections law passed in March, with a legal challenge that alleges the new statute violates the federal Voting Rights Act. The federal lawsuit is the latest in a series of challenges to Senate Bill […]

Biden admin extends federal eviction moratorium for one final month

By: - June 25, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Thursday extended a national moratorium on evictions for another month, offering what federal officials say will be a final respite while they scramble to beef up other help for renters that could mitigate a wave of evictions once the legal protection does expire. The added month of eviction relief comes […]

Biden and bipartisan senators clinch a deal on $1.2T infrastructure plan

By: - June 25, 2021

WASHINGTON — The White House and a bipartisan group of U.S. senators said Thursday they’ve struck a deal on the outlines of a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, marking a breakthrough on federal dollars for road and bridge projects after weeks of negotiations — but with significant hurdles still ahead. President Joe Biden stood with the […]

Republican tries to ban ‘critical race theory’ in DC schools

By: - June 22, 2021

WASHINGTON — A Republican member of the U.S. House wants to restrict how District of Columbia public school teachers talk about racism and sexism, drafting a bill that’s the latest attack by the GOP against discussions of race and gender in U.S. schools. The bill introduced last week by Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wisc.), titled the […]

Senate panel advances nomination of Missouri’s Robin Carnahan to head GSA

By: - June 17, 2021

WASHINGTON — A Senate panel on Wednesday unanimously advanced the nomination of former Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan to lead the federal Department of General Services. The bipartisan voice vote by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee sends Carnahan’s nomination to await a vote by the full Senate. If confirmed, Carnahan, 59, would […]