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.

Sweeping voting rights bill clears the U.S. House

By: - March 4, 2021

The House passed sweeping voting rights, redistricting, campaign finance and ethics reform, late Wednesday night along party lines in a 220 to 210 vote, but the historic package will face an uphill battle in the Senate as no Republicans currently support the bill. Even though Democrats control Congress and the White House, their slim majority in a 50-50 Senate […]

Senate confirms Cardona as Education Secretary

By: - March 1, 2021

The Senate on Monday confirmed Miguel Cardona to lead the U.S. Department of Education in a 64-33 vote. Cardona, a longtime educator from Connecticut, will be tasked with helping schools reopen during the pandemic and leading the $68 billion agency. “There is no one better suited for this job in this moment than Miguel Cardona,” […]

Granholm confirmed to Energy Department

By: - February 25, 2021

Update: This story has been updated to reflect details at her swearing-in ceremony. WASHINGTON—The U.S. Senate on Thursday in a 64-35 vote confirmed former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm to run the Department of Energy. She’ll be the second woman to lead the $35 billion agency. Vice President Kamala Harris swore in Granholm several hours after the […]

Haaland gets grilled from western states Senators

By: - February 24, 2021

WASHINGTON— In a bitter and at times high-decibel round of questioning at her confirmation hearing on Wednesday, Interior nominee Rep. Deb Haaland again fielded questions from Senate Republicans from oil and gas-producing states about the Biden administration’s energy policies. It was the New Mexico Democrat’s second morning in front of the Senate Energy and Natural […]

Haaland faces tough questions, GOP critics

By: - February 23, 2021

WASHINGTON — Rep. Deb Haaland confronted expected tough questioning from Republican senators on Tuesday at her confirmation hearing to become the first Native American secretary of the Department of the Interior. But the New Mexico Democrat also drew support from Rep. Don Young, a longtime Alaska Republican who made a quick appearance to praise her […]

Vilsack gets confirmed for a second time

By: - February 23, 2021

WASHINGTON—The Senate on Tuesday in a 92-7 vote confirmed former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack to run the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a second time. Vilsack, 70, also headed the $151 billion agency under the Obama administration, for eight years. But he has garnered criticism from Black and minority farmers for his treatment of them during his […]

Biden’s nominees for labor and education move forward

By: - February 11, 2021

WASHINGTON—Miguel Cardona was one step closer to leading the U.S. Department of Education on Thursday after the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee moved his nomination to the full Senate for a vote. The panel voted 17-5. Senators also voted 18-4 to advance the nomination of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to serve as secretary of […]

Outlook for a $15-an-hour minimum wage boosted by government report

By: - February 8, 2021

WASHINGTON—The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office in a report Monday found a gradual increase to a $15 federal minimum wage by 2025 would reduce poverty, add $54 billion to the deficit over a decade and increase pay for millions of low-income workers. The report could help Democrats make a strong case for including a gradual federal minimum wage […]

Defiant Marjorie Taylor Greene says she’d be ‘wasting my time’ on committees

By: - February 5, 2021

WASHINGTON—U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene told reporters on Friday that now that she’s lost her committee assignments, she has more time to push a pro-Trump agenda. The House voted late Thursday 230-199 to remove the Georgia Republican from two committee seats she had been assigned by GOP leaders upon arriving in Washington as a freshman —Education and Labor, […]

Fudge’s nomination as HUD head advances

By: - February 4, 2021

WASHINGTON—The Senate Banking Committee on Thursday advanced to the full Senate the nomination of U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The committee’s chair, Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat, said he’s confident that Fudge will work to address the housing crisis and prevent families from […]

Education secretary nominee says teachers should be prioritized for vaccines

By: - February 3, 2021

WASHINGTON—The president’s pick to lead the U.S. Education Department said Wednesday that he wants teachers at the front of the line for vaccinations as local leaders debate reopening schools amid the pandemic. Miguel Cardona, a veteran educator from Connecticut, in his Senate confirmation hearing also faced questions from several Republicans about transgender students’ participation in […]

Biden rolls back policy on separation of migrant children

By: - February 3, 2021

WASHINGTON—President Joe Biden signed three executive orders on Tuesday evening that will reverse controversial policies from the previous administration, including one that resulted in the separation of migrant children from their parents. Biden made it clear during the signing that he was not creating new immigration policies with the executive orders, but reversing those crafted […]