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.

Congress votes to override Trump’s veto of annual defense authorization bill

By: - January 1, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate on Friday in an 81-13 vote joined the House in overriding President Donald Trump’s veto of a $740 billion defense policy bill, the first veto override of Trump’s tenure. That means the annual defense policy measure will become law despite Trump’s opposition. The House on Monday had voted 322-87 to override the veto. A […]

A presidential election like none other, and now an inauguration like none other

By: - January 1, 2021

WASHINGTON — As with so many other events during the year preceding it, the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden will be a ceremony unlike those of his predecessors. Tempering the celebratory tone is a directive from Biden’s inaugural team for supporters to refrain from traveling to D.C. for the Jan. 20 swearing-in. Instead, they’ve urged […]

U.S. House votes to override Trump’s veto of annual defense authorization bill

By: - December 28, 2020

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives voted Monday evening to override President Donald Trump’s veto of a $740 billion defense spending bill, setting up the first veto override of Trump’s tenure. Following Monday’s 322-87 vote, the bill heads back to the Senate, which is slated to return to session Tuesday. Overriding a presidential veto […]

U.S. House approves $2,000 stimulus checks backed by Trump

By: - December 28, 2020

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives approved a measure Monday evening to send $2,000 stimulus checks to many Americans, embracing a call from President Donald Trump to more than triple the direct payments in the massive coronavirus relief package signed into law Sunday night. A bill to boost the relief payments cleared the House […]

U.S. House Democrats to face a dilemma in January over Iowa’s contested 2nd District race

By: - December 24, 2020

WASHINGTON — When the U.S. House of Representatives convenes on Jan. 3, Democratic leaders will have to decide whether or not to swear in the woman certified as the winner in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District amid a challenge to those results. Such challenges are not unheard of, but they’ve rarely been successful. Still, with a […]

Congress passes massive ‘first step’ in pandemic relief with $900B package

By: - December 21, 2020

WASHINGTON — Congress on Monday night cleared and sent to President Donald Trump the first major COVID-19 relief measure since the spring, a sprawling spending bill that would provide $900 billion in pandemic-related aid but still didn’t go far enough for many Democrats. House leaders divided the bill into two parts and passed the emergency […]

What’s in the $900B emergency relief bill — and what’s out

By: - December 21, 2020

WASHINGTON — Congress is set to pass a massive bipartisan emergency relief bill that’s intended to aid Americans affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s what it includes, according to summaries from House Democratic appropriators:  DIRECT CHECKS —$166 billion in another round of economic impact payments that will go directly to Americans. —$600 stimulus checks for […]

Congress seals the deal on emergency relief after dispute over Fed lending settled

By: - December 20, 2020

WASHINGTON — A deal on a coronavirus relief package finally emerged on Sunday night, after members of Congress resolved a days-long impasse over a provision sought by U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania to ensure that several temporary Federal Reserve lending programs will end this year. Working through that disagreement over the Fed was a key final […]

Near-deal on COVID-19 hits snag over federal lending programs

By: - December 18, 2020

WASHINGTON — The potential deal on a new coronavirus relief package has hit a snag over a provision pushed by U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey to ensure the temporary Federal Reserve lending programs set up last spring are halted at the end of the year. Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, says those lending programs were intended to […]

Congress close to emergency relief deal including direct payments, added unemployment benefits

By: - December 16, 2020

WASHINGTON — A coronavirus relief deal appeared within reach late Wednesday following months of stalemate in Congress, potentially providing much-needed help to Americans facing expiring unemployment benefits and states distributing the new COVID-19 vaccine. A final deal also may include another round of direct payments. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., suggested to reporters that those checks […]

FDA approves first COVID-19 vaccine, clearing the way for states’ rollout

By: - December 11, 2020

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved the first COVID-19 vaccine for use in the U.S., a decision that serves as the starting gun for the vaccine logistics efforts that states have been preparing for months. The vaccine approved for emergency use from Pfizer and German partner BioNTech is expected to begin shipping across […]

States move closer to vaccine rollout as federal panel gives its OK

By: - December 10, 2020

WASHINGTON — A federal advisory panel on Thursday gave the green light to a COVID-19 vaccine developed by U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer, completing the next-to-last regulatory step before states begin a massive national vaccination effort. The Food and Drug Administration still must give its approval on the Pfizer vaccine’s emergency use, but the agency is […]