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.

A voter asked Biden to cancel student debt. She’s not giving up.

By: - April 1, 2021

WASHINGTON — Joycelyn Fish drove through several feet of snow that blanketed Wisconsin one February night so she could get to a nationally televised town hall and question President Joe Biden about the crush of student debt. The blunt reply she got from Biden — that he wouldn’t take action to eliminate $50,000 in debt […]

Voting rights advocates air worries about onslaught of new state election laws

By: - April 1, 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 will unveil a nearly $2 trillion infrastructure package Wednesday 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. Alongside the expansive infrastructure plan, the president will release a blueprint to […]

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

By: - March 25, 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 chairman, 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 mass shooting in Colorado

By: - March 23, 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 […]

U.S. Senate confirms Merrick Garland as attorney general

By: - March 10, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate on Wednesday confirmed Merrick Garland to serve as U.S. attorney general in a 70-30 vote. Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced his nomination in a 15-7 vote. Garland served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. As attorney general, he’ll lead […]

Senate confirms Marcia Fudge as HUD secretary

By: - March 10, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate Wednesday confirmed U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio in a 66-34 vote to lead the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Vice President Kamala Harris is scheduled to swear in Fudge at 4:30 p.m. CT Wednesday. Fudge, a Democrat who represents the 11th Congressional District, will be the second […]

Senate passes coronavirus relief aid; bill now returns to the House

By: - March 6, 2021

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 local governments, […]

Sweeping voting rights package passes U.S. House

By: - March 3, 2021

The House passed sweeping voting rights, redistricting, campaign finance and ethics reform late Wednesday on a 220-210 vote. The historic package will face an uphill battle in the Senate as no Republicans currently support the bill. Even though Democrats control Congress and the White House, their slim majority in a 50-50 Senate is not enough […]

Senate confirms Cardona as education secretary

By: - March 1, 2021

The Senate on Monday confirmed Miguel Cardona to lead the U.S. Department of Education. Cardona, a longtime educator from Connecticut, will be tasked with helping schools reopen during the pandemic and leading the $68 billion agency. “There is no one better suited for this job in this moment than Miguel Cardona,” Sen. Chris Murphy, Democrat […]

U.S. House passes sprawling $1.9T COVID-19 relief bill, including minimum wage hike

By: - 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 […]

Granholm is sworn in as secretary of Energy

By: - February 25, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed in a 64-35 vote the nomination of former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm to run the Department of Energy.She’ll be 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 and son-in-law […]