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.

Georgia voting law pummeled at Senate hearing

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 sweeping new […]

USDA, Vilsack address food insecurity and nutrition in budget request

By: - April 14, 2021

WASHINGTON—Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday laid out USDA’s goals to expand food insecurity and nutrition progrmas 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, told members […]

As many as 100 immigration judges added under Biden’s budget proposal

By: - April 9, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Friday released a budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year that 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 […]

Biden calls gun violence ‘international embarrassment’ while 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 in remarks […]

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 States Capitol […]

Interior launches a new unit to investigate cases of missing and murdered indigenous people

By: - April 2, 2021

The U.S. Department of the Interior is creating a new unit to lead and help coordinate investigations into the ongoing crisis of murdered and missing American Indian and Alaska Native people. Interior Secretary Debra Haaland, the first Indigenous person to lead the agency, announced Thursday the formation of the Missing & Murdered Unit within the Bureau of […]

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 for voting […]

Biden unveils $2 trillion plan to rebuild infrastructure, create jobs, move to ‘clean energy’

By: - March 31, 2021

WASHINGTON—President Joe Biden on Wednesday in Pennsylvania will unveil a nearly $2 trillion infrastructure package to rebuild highways and bridges, along with funding programs for housing, broadband and schools and increasing U.S. manufacturing jobs during the next eight years, an administration official told reporters on Tuesday night. Alongside the expansive infrastructure plan, the president will release […]

Special report: Dozens of members of Congress are vaccinated, but some still hesitate

By: and - March 30, 2021

WASHINGTON — Members of Congress were among the first people in the U.S. to have access to the sought-after COVID-19 vaccine when the initial doses became available in December. Three months later, a States Newsroom survey across 22 states—making up a large swath of Congress— found at least 155 members of the U.S. House and Senate have […]

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 […]

Merrick Garland confirmed as the nation’s Attorney General

By: - March 10, 2021

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Senate 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 the Justice Department as the […]

Senate confirms Marcia Fudge as HUD Secretary

By: - March 10, 2021

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 3:30 p.m., Wednesday. Fudge, a Democrat who represents the 11th Congressional District, will be the second Black woman to […]