Author

Ariana Figueroa

Ariana Figueroa

Ariana Figueroa is a reporter in the States Newsroom Washington, D.C, bureau. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections and campaign finance. Before joining States Newsroom, Ariana covered public health and chemical policy on Capitol Hill for E&E News. As a Florida native, she's worked for the Miami Herald and her hometown paper, the Tampa Bay Times. Her work has also appeared in the Chicago Tribune and NPR. She is a graduate of the University of Florida.

COVID-19 vaccine

House Republicans urge State Dept. to declassify documents related to coronavirus origins

By: - May 20, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. House Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee are pushing for Secretary of State Antony Blinken to declassify documents from a research facility in China relating to the origins of the coronavirus. Rep. Morgan Griffith of Virginia, the top Republican on the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, along with other GOP lawmakers wrote […]

House panel hears testimony on how homeless students slip through the cracks during COVID

By: - May 20, 2021

WASHINGTON — Witnesses before a U.S. House panel on Wednesday advised lawmakers on how federal relief aid can help bridge educational gaps among children who are homeless and in foster care during the pandemic. “While housing is critical, housing alone does not close the educational gap faced by students who have experienced homelessness,” Jennifer Erb-Downward, […]

Mourners leave flowers at mass shooting site

U.S. House condemns Atlanta shootings and Asian American racism

By: - May 19, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House on Wednesday passed a resolution condemning the March 16 mass shooting in Atlanta and reaffirming Congress’ commitment to combating racism and violence against the Asian American community, which has seen a spike in hate crimes since the onset of the pandemic. The resolution, H.Res. 275, passed, 244-180, though more than a […]

election officials proceed with the counting of ballots at the Allegheny County elections warehouse on Nov. 6, 2020,

Senators deadlock on major U.S. elections bill in committee vote

By: - May 12, 2021

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats on Tuesday tackled a massive voting reforms bill in committee in a heated daylong debate. But the final vote on the bill by the Senate Rules Committee was a 9-9 tie, which means Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer likely would have to use a Senate procedure to bring the legislation to […]

Rep. Liz Cheney

Liz Cheney ousted from U.S. House GOP leadership for rejecting Trump’s “big lie”

By: - May 12, 2021

WASHINGTON — House Republicans voted Wednesday to remove U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership position after her continued pushback against former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud in the presidential election. Saying they want to unite the party in an attempt to win back the House in the 2022 midterm elections, GOP […]

U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock

U.S. senator works to remedy decades of USDA discrimination against Black farmers

By: - May 3, 2021

WASHINGTON — The arrival of U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock in Congress earlier this year coincided with an overdue recognition of the historic discrimination inflicted on Black farmers by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The farmers’ plight has emerged as a major priority for Warnock, a Georgia Democrat whose victory in a January special election runoff […]

President Biden signs executive actions in the Oval Office.

Biden to order $15-an-hour minimum wage for federal contract workers

By: - April 27, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden plans to sign an executive order Tuesday to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $15 an hour, according to senior administration officials. The order will go into effect Jan. 30 of next year, according to a fact sheet provided by the administration. Once in place through new […]

Boxes of 9mm ammunition

Federal background checks on ammunition sales pushed by Democrats

By: - April 21, 2021

WASHINGTON — Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut on Tuesday reintroduced legislation that would require instant background checks to prevent individuals with a criminal record from illegally purchasing ammunition. The measure backed by the Democrats, known as Jaime’s Law, is named in honor of Jaime Guttenberg, a student who […]

Ag secretary keys in on food insecurity and nutrition in USDA budget request

By: - April 15, 2021

WASHINGTON — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday laid out the USDA’s goals to expand food insecurity and nutrition programs 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 […]

Migrants make their way to the U.S. border

Up to 100 new immigration judges would be added under Biden budget request

By: - April 11, 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 […]

Mourners visit and leave flowers at the site of two shootings at spas across the street from one another, in memorial for the lives lost, on March 17, 2021, in Atlanta, Georgia.

U.S. gun violence an ‘international embarrassment,’ Biden says in 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 […]

Shoppers are evacuated from a King Soopers grocery store after a gunman opened fire on March 22, 2021, in Boulder, Colorado.

Biden administration to suggest model ‘red flag’ gun laws for states

By: - April 8, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice will distribute model “red flag” legislation to states so they can enact laws that would allow courts to temporarily remove a firearm from an individual who is distressed, according to senior Biden administration officials. “The president will not wait for Congress to act before the administration takes our own […]