Author

Ariana Figueroa

Ariana Figueroa

Ariana Figueroa 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.

Senators deadlock in committee vote on major U.S. elections bill

By: - May 11, 2021

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats on Tuesday tackled a massive voting reforms bill in committee in a heated daylong debate. But the final vote on the bill by the Senate Rules Committee was a 9-9 tie, which means Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer likely would have to use a Senate procedure to bring the legislation to […]

Hinson, Scalise support ouster of Liz Cheney from U.S. House GOP leadership

By: - May 6, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson of Iowa said Thursday that she backs a move to remove Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership position in the House GOP, after Cheney called out fellow Republicans for spreading lies about the 2020 presidential election. Hinson and top House Republican leaders, including Louisiana’s Steve Scalise, are advocating for […]

VP Harris touts administration’s $2T jobs plan as negotiations are set for next week

By: - May 4, 2021

Vice President Kamala Harris worked Tuesday to drum up support for the president’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal during a trip to Milwaukee. Harris highlighted the federal funding the Biden administration plan would allocate for research and development programs aimed at clean energy and climate change solutions, as well as $100 billion that would be spent […]

Warnock works to remedy decades of USDA discrimination against Black farmers

By: - May 2, 2021

WASHINGTON — The arrival of U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock in Congress earlier this year coincided with an overdue recognition of the historic discrimination inflicted on Black farmers by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The farmers’ plight has emerged as a major priority for Warnock, a Georgia Democrat whose victory in a January special election runoff handed his […]

Biden orders $15-an-hour minimum wage for federal contract workers

By: - April 27, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden signed an executive order Tuesday to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $15 an hour. The order will go into effect Jan. 30 of next year, according to a fact sheet provided by the administration. Once in place through new and extended contracts, the wage will automatically adjust to […]

Federal background checks on ammunition sales pushed by Democrats

By: - April 20, 2021

WASHINGTON — Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut on Tuesday reintroduced legislation that would require instant background checks to prevent individuals with a criminal record from illegally purchasing ammunition. The measure backed by the Democrats, known as Jaime’s Law, is named in honor of Jaime Guttenberg, a student who […]

Georgia voting law pummeled at U.S. Senate hearing on ‘Jim Crow 2021’

By: - April 20, 2021

WASHINGTON — Georgia’s new voting law was at the center of Tuesday’s U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, where senators discussed restoration of a key section in the Voting Rights Act that would prevent states, mostly in the South, from changing their election laws without federal approval. During the more than four-hour hearing, witnesses opposed to the […]

Vilsack keys in on food insecurity and nutrition in USDA budget request

By: - April 14, 2021

WASHINGTON — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday laid out USDA’s goals to expand food insecurity and nutrition programs in the president’s budget request, as well as the agency’s focus on programs to address longtime racial discrimination. “Normally I would talk to you all about numbers in the budget,” Vilsack, the former governor of Iowa, […]

Up to 100 new immigration judges would be added under Biden budget request

By: - April 12, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration’s budget proposal would increase the number of immigration judges and allocate millions in funding to clear backlogs of hearings and asylum requests. The administration is grappling with an influx of asylum seekers at the Southern border after inheriting a gutted immigration system from the Trump administration. Boosted funding for immigration […]

U.S. gun violence an ‘international embarrassment,’ Biden says in rolling out executive action

By: - April 8, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Thursday reiterated his call on Congress to pass stalled gun legislation reform but also outlined executive action he’s taking on several gun control measures, following deadly mass shootings last month in Colorado and Georgia. “Gun violence in this country is an epidemic and it’s an international embarrassment,” Biden said […]

Biden administration to suggest model ‘red flag’ gun laws for states

By: - April 7, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice will distribute model “red flag” legislation to states so they can enact laws that would allow courts to temporarily remove a firearm from an individual who is distressed, according to senior Biden administration officials. “The president will not wait for Congress to act before the administration takes our own […]

Police officer dead after suspect rams car into barricade outside U.S. Capitol

By: - April 2, 2021

WASHINGTON — One U.S. Capitol Police officer was dead and another injured Friday after a driver slammed a car into a barricade outside the Capitol and struck the officers, according to law enforcement. The officer who died was identified as Officer William “Billy” Evans by police. “Officer Evans had been a member of the United […]