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 Iowa Capital Dispatch. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections, and campaign finance.

Federal vaccine mandate for health care workers in 10 states blocked by judge

By: - November 29, 2021

WASHINGTON — Enforcement of the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for millions of health care workers was blocked in 10 states on Monday, after a ruling by a federal judge in Missouri. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Matthew Schelp affects the states involved in the lawsuit, which include Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, and New Hampshire. The […]

New COVID omicron variant ‘not a cause for panic,’ Biden says

By: - November 29, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden sought to reassure Americans on Monday about the latest COVID-19 variant, describing it as “a cause for concern, not a cause for panic.” Biden did not announce any new travel restrictions or other federal actions during his brief remarks from the White House. Instead, he urged Americans to get a booster […]

How paid leave, a tax cut for the rich and more could get axed from Biden’s social policy bill

By: and - November 26, 2021

WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats cheered on the floor of the U.S. House after approving President Joe Biden’s massive social spending and climate bill. But a major struggle lies ahead in the coming month in the U.S. Senate, where Democrats cannot lose any votes within their party if they are to send the so-called Build Back Better measure […]

Federal health officials open up access to COVID-19 booster shots to all U.S. adults

By: - November 19, 2021

WASHINGTON — Federal health officials on Friday moved to expand access to COVID-19 booster shots to all American adults, in an effort to bolster protection against infections as case counts rise again across the United States. Officials with the Food and Drug Administration authorized booster shots for anyone over age 18 who received their second […]

American flag flying with U.S. Capitol in the background.

House Democrats pass Biden’s $1.85 trillion ‘Build Back Better’ plan

By: , and - November 19, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. House Democrats united around a landmark $1.85 trillion social spending and climate bill on Friday, sending the major plank of President Joe Biden’s economic agenda to the Senate. Democratic leaders in the House heralded the 220-213 near party-line vote on the so-called Build Back Better bill, touting its provisions on child care, education, […]

Some states forge ahead with COVID-19 booster shots for all adults

By: - November 17, 2021

WASHINGTON — Federal health officials are expected as soon as Friday to expand access to COVID-19 booster shots to all American adults. But some states aren’t waiting for a green light from D.C. At least six states already have opened up eligibility for the boosters from Pfizer and Moderna beyond the categories specified by federal […]

Federal judge sides with GOP states challenging limits on tax cuts in pandemic relief law

By: - November 16, 2021

WASHINGTON — A federal judge in Alabama has ruled in favor of 13 Republican-led states — including Iowa, Florida, New Hampshire, Kansas and Montana — that sued the federal government over a section of a coronavirus relief bill that barred states from using relief money to offset tax cuts. The ruling, which granted a permanent […]

Biden signs $1.2T infrastructure bill: ‘America is moving again’

By: , and - November 15, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Monday signed into law his $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill during a ceremony at the White House packed with some 800 supporters, heralding what he said was a “truly consequential” spending bill that will improve Americans’ day-to-day lives. But Democrats also emphasized that there is more to come — a […]

States, cities face deadline for proving how quickly they’ve helped renters in crisis

By: - November 13, 2021

WASHINGTON — States, cities and counties that excelled at distributing emergency federal aid to renters struggling during the pandemic may soon be rewarded — with yet more cash. Their new funding would be drawn from sluggish states and localities that didn’t move as swiftly to help people facing eviction and homelessness, who were targeted for […]

White House touts clean energy, transit, rail projects in sprawling infrastructure bill

By: and - November 9, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Federal officials on Tuesday offered details about how money from the recently passed bipartisan infrastructure bill would be spent, emphasizing the pending law’s potential to add clean energy capacity. Department of Transportation officials highlighted the $1.2 trillion bill’s record funding for public transit like buses and subways, as well as for Amtrak. […]

Federal vaccine rule for private businesses to kick in on Jan. 4

By: - November 4, 2021

WASHINGTON — Many private employers beginning in January will have to ensure their workers either are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or that they will undergo weekly testing and wear a face covering, under a new federal rule announced Thursday by the White House. The policy from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is set to […]

COVID-19 vaccines for kids 5 to 11 cleared by CDC

By: - November 2, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has signed off on giving Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to all kids ages 5 to 11, a final decision that means those children can begin receiving shots as soon as Wednesday. Vials of the pediatric version of the vaccine have already been shipped to states, so they […]