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.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN: Signage at an early voting center on September 23, 2016 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

DOJ civil rights official urges Congress to act soon on voting rights

By: - August 16, 2021

WASHINGTON—A top Justice Department official on Monday stressed the need for Congress to pass  legislation named after the late Georgia civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis in order to protect voting rights across the United States. Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Kristen Clarke told lawmakers that since a 2013 Supreme Court decision that struck […]

U.S. Senate to try again on voting rights in September

By: - August 11, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is planning to bring a comprehensive voting rights package to the Senate floor for a vote when the chamber returns from recess next month. Schumer, a New York Democrat, said Wednesday that the Senate will take up a compromise version of the voting and elections bill, S.1, […]

Shortages of jet fuel and truck drivers hampering wildfire fight

By: - August 10, 2021

WASHINGTON—Bipartisan U.S. senators from the West, including Idaho Republicans Mike Crapo and James Risch, are urging the Biden administration to coordinate across agencies to help Western states with shortages of fuel that are preventing firefighters from using aircraft to fight wildfires. “We are concerned that fuel shortages could lead to the grounding of federal, state, […]

Biden extends freeze on student loan payments to Jan. 31

By: - August 6, 2021

WASHINGTON—The Biden administration announced Friday afternoon that it is extending the pause on federal student loan repayments until January of next year, as the delta variant of the coronavirus surges across the country. “As our nation’s economy continues to recover from a deep hole, this final extension will give students and borrowers the time they […]

Woman with sign that reads: Voter Suppression still rigs our elections. Let's keep up the fight for all voting rights.

House Dems document U.S. history of discrimination in shaping voting rights bill

By: - August 6, 2021

WASHINGTON — A House panel released a new report on Friday that will help lawmakers craft  legislation named after the late Georgia civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis that aims to protect voting rights across the United States. The 124-page report, put forth by the House subcommittee on elections, outlines the U.S. history of discrimination in voting and […]

Black mother and child

Black women with children excluded from federal cash assistance program, report finds

By: - August 5, 2021

WASHINGTON — A new research paper reviewed how each state implemented a federal program that has provided cash assistance to low income families over the last 25 years—and found that Black women with children repeatedly were excluded. On a call with reporters Wednesday, policy experts at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities outlined how states can […]

Feds order new eviction ban in counties with highest COVID-19 infection rates

By: and - August 4, 2021

WASHINGTON — Federal health officials on Tuesday announced a new, narrower moratorium on evictions through Oct. 3, which would protect struggling renters in areas of the U.S. that have been hit hardest by soaring COVID-19 infection rates. The targeted eviction ban comes days after a federal moratorium in place since September expired on Saturday. The Biden administration […]

Rep. David Bowen speaks at the Washington, DC, rally in support of the For the People Act | Photo via Rep. David F. Bowen Twitter

State legislators rallying in D.C. urge Congress to act on voting rights

By: - August 4, 2021

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senate Democrats joined with dozens of state legislators at a rally outside the U.S. Capitol Tuesday afternoon, demanding that the Senate skip August recess and pass critical voting rights legislation in reaction to Republican-led states that have adopted restrictive voting laws. Dozens of legislators from Wisconsin, North Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Texas, among […]

President Joe Biden prepares remarks regarding the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack and resumption of operations, Thursday, May 13, 2021, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

Biden urges state and local leaders to postpone evictions while rental aid is distributed

By: - August 3, 2021

WASHINGTON—President Joe Biden on Monday called on state and local governments to put their own pause on evictions for at least two months, and urged them to use $46.5 billion provided by the coronavirus relief package for tenants and landlords. But the White House said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been […]

Voting Rights Amendment Act rally in Capitol Hill in June 2014 in Washington, D.C. after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down preclearance requirements in Georgia and other states.

Klobuchar: Senate Dems ‘very close’ to a deal on revised voting rights bill

By: - July 30, 2021

WASHINGTON—Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar said Thursday that lawmakers attempting to negotiate a compromise elections overhaul bill are “very close to an agreement” on legislation, as Democrats struggle to respond to restrictive voting laws passed in Republican-led states. Klobuchar, the chairwoman of the Senate Rules & Administration Committee, has been meeting with other Senate Democrats about […]

A cup full of single-use, ion-exchange, gel-based media sits atop valves that control a ground water remediation system being used to remediate PFAS from groundwater on Sept. 29, 2020, at the fire training area of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

U.S. House passes PFAS bill regulating ‘forever chemicals’ in drinking water

By: - July 21, 2021

WASHINGTON—The U.S. House Wednesday passed bipartisan legislation that would regulate toxic chemicals found in drinking water, as well as designate two types of those toxic chemicals as hazardous substances that would spark federal cleanup standards.  The bill, H.R. 2467, also known as the PFAS Action Act of 2021, passed 241-183, with 23 Republicans joining Democrats […]

A water town printed with Jackson in Minnesota water utility with tree tops below

As Congress tries to regulate ‘forever chemicals,’ local water systems push back

By: - July 20, 2021

WASHINGTON—Local water utilities worried about getting hit with lawsuits and high cleanup costs are stepping up their lobbying of Congress as lawmakers move to regulate toxic chemicals found in drinking water. The bill, the PFAS Action Act of 2021, has garnered bipartisan support and two Michigan lawmakers, Reps. Debbie Dingell, a Democrat, and Fred Upton, […]