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.

CDC panel advises states to prioritize health care workers, nursing home residents for COVID-19 vaccine

By: - December 1, 2020

WASHINGTON — Health care workers and residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities would be the first people in the U.S. to receive COVID-19 vaccines under recommendations approved Tuesday by a federal advisory committee. It will be up to each state to determine how exactly to distribute doses of the vaccines, which could […]

Grassley back at work in D.C. following COVID-19 quarantine

By: - November 30, 2020

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley is back on Capitol Hill after quarantining due to a positive COVID-19 test.  Grassley’s office said Monday that the 87-year-old Iowa Republican had remained asymptomatic since testing positive on Nov. 17, and that Grassley’s doctors cleared him to return to the office. “I did not experience symptoms, but more […]

Washington at a standstill, as states face the loss of federal help amid ‘the worst part of the crisis’

By: - November 21, 2020

WASHINGTON — The number of coronavirus infections across the country is swelling at a perilous time for state governments, just weeks before federal support rushed through Congress in the pandemic’s early stages is set to end. The expiring provisions from the $2 trillion CARES Act and subsequent executive orders will mean reductions in unemployment benefits […]

Seven members of Congress test positive for COVID-19 in one week, as U.S. cases surge

By: - November 18, 2020

WASHINGTON — Seven members of the U.S. House and Senate announced during the past week that they have tested positive for COVID-19, marking a burst of infections on Capitol Hill as cases have surged across the country. At least 29 members of Congress have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began earlier this year, […]

Grassley ‘symptom free’ as top Senate leaders wish him a speedy recovery from COVID-19

By: - November 18, 2020

By Laura Olson WASHINGTON — On Monday, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, was at the Capitol, speaking on the Senate floor about how important it is for Americans to take precautions to protect themselves and others from the surging coronavirus cases across the country.  A day later, Grassley announced first that he would be quarantining […]

Newly elected members of the U.S. House converge on Washington

By: - November 12, 2020

WASHINGTON — They’ve won their campaigns. Now, newly elected members of the U.S. House of Representatives are spending their first days in the nation’s capital, learning how to perform their new jobs. The orientation session for those incoming House freshmen began on Thursday and stretches into next week, covering their office budgets, how to hire […]

Hinson says she’s tested positive for COVID-19

By: - November 12, 2020

By Laura Olson WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep.-elect Ashley Hinson has tested positive for coronavirus, her campaign announced Thursday. Campaign staffers for Hinson, a Republican who in the Nov. 3 election defeated Rep. Abby Finkenauer, a first-term Democrat representing Iowa’s 1st Congressional District, said in a news release that Hinson “feels great” and is quarantining at […]

Grassley staying quiet on his 2022 reelection plans

By: - November 12, 2020

By Laura Olson WASHINGTON — With the 2020 election over and political speculation shifting to 2022, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley is staying mum on whether he plans to seek an eighth term in the U.S. Senate.  “I have no news on that,” Grassley responded during a conference call Thursday with Iowa reporters, declining to give […]

Biden wants mask mandates nationwide: ‘We can save tens of thousands of lives’

By: - November 11, 2020

WASHINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden’s coronavirus response plan seeks to put a national mask mandate in place by calling on all governors to require face coverings in their states. It’s a move that public health experts say could dramatically reduce the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths. But putting wider mask laws in place would […]

The Supreme Court could strike down Obamacare. Here’s what’s at stake.

By: - November 10, 2020

WASHINGTON — The fate of the sweeping 2010 health care law known as Obamacare is again in limbo, with the Supreme Court on Tuesday set to hear arguments over whether that statute should be overturned. States are at the heart of the case and nearly every one has made an argument about why Obamacare should […]

AP reports Joe Biden is the next president

By: - November 7, 2020

WASHINGTON — Democrat Joe Biden’s native state of Pennsylvania on Saturday secured his victory to become the next president of the United States when The Associated Press reported he had gained enough votes there to win the electoral college. The AP called Pennsylvania for Biden at 11:25 a.m., which gave the former vice president 284 […]

Battleground states count mail ballots, with Biden just shy of votes to clinch presidency

By: - November 5, 2020

WASHINGTON — Two days after Election Day, the nation waited for vote-counting to finish in several critical states, where the tallying of mail ballots has left Democrat Joe Biden just short of the votes needed to become the next president. Thursday’s updated totals could push Biden beyond the 270 electoral votes needed to secure victory […]