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.

Special Report: Dozens of members of Congress are vaccinated against COVID-19, but some still hesitate

By: - 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 […]

House Agriculture panel probes ‘systemic’ USDA discrimination against Black farmers

By: - March 26, 2021

WASHINGTON  — The House Agriculture Committee on Thursday heard about how Black farmers have faced decades of racial discrimination in their dealings with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The committee’s chairman, Rep. David Scott, (D-Ga.), said the testimony at the virtual hearing would help the panel craft legislation that aims to increase the number of […]

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 […]

Venezuelans in Florida and across the U.S. gain temporary protection from deportation

By: - March 11, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is granting temporary protection for hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans living in the United States who fled the economic crisis in their home country. An estimated 349,000 Venezuelans live in this country, according to a 2018 report by the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan organization that conducts research on migration. […]

U.S. Senate confirms Merrick Garland as 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 Ohio’s 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 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Fudge, a Democrat who represents the 11th Congressional District, will be the second Black woman to […]

U.S. Senate passes coronavirus relief aid; bill now returns to the House

By: - March 6, 2021

The U.S. Senate passed President Joe Biden’s nearly $2 trillion stimulus plan Saturday afternoon after wrangling over an amendment to trim unemployment benefits derailed the bill’s passage for nearly an entire day. The Senate version, which does not include a federal minimum wage hike and puts limits on the funding for state and local governments, […]

Sweeping voting rights package passes 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 […]

Teacher in her classroom

U.S. Senate confirms Cardona as education secretary

By: - March 2, 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. Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio voted for Cardona’s confirmation; U.S. Sen. Rick Scott voted against […]

Sprawling $1.9T COVID-19 relief bill passed by the U.S. House

By: - February 27, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House on a nearly party-line vote passed President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic aid package early Saturday, in a rush to both boost COVID-19 vaccine funding and get legislation to the president’s desk before unemployment benefits expire in mid-March. The package, dubbed the American Rescue Plan, passed 219-212. It includes a […]

U.S. Senate confirms Granholm as Secretary of Energy; FL Sens. Rubio, Scott voted against her nomination

By: - February 25, 2021

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. Sen. Gary Peters, the Michigan Democrat who chairs the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, gave his support for Granholm on the Senate floor, […]

Vilsack is sworn in as USDA secretary—virtually

By: - February 25, 2021

WASHINGTON—Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday swore in former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a second time around for Vilsack in the post. “Congratulations Mr. Secretary and to the whole family,” Harris said. “The president is so excited. We’ve got a lot of work to do and we’ll do […]