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.

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 18: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) receives a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. Capitol Building. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images)

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

By: and - March 31, 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 […]

WILMINGTON, DELAWARE - DECEMBER 11: U.S. President-elect Joe Biden (R) and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris (L) look on as Tom Vilsack, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to head the Department of Agriculture, delivers remarks at the Queen Theater December 11, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. President-elect Joe Biden is continuing to round out his domestic team with the announcement of his choices for cabinet secretaries of Veterans Affairs and Agriculture, and the heads of his domestic policy council and the U.S. Trade Representative. Vilsack served for eight years as President Barack Obama’s secretary of Agriculture. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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

By: - March 29, 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 […]

Student loan debt graduating IOU college cost

This Racine voter asked Biden to cancel student debt. She’s not giving up.

By: - March 25, 2021

WASHINGTON — Joycelyn Fish drove through several feet of snow that blanketed Wisconsin one February night so she could get to a nationally televised town hall and question President Joe Biden about the crush of student debt. The blunt reply she got from Biden — that he wouldn’t take action to eliminate $50,000 in debt […]

Joe Biden smiling with Everytown for Gun Safety in background

Biden calls on Senate to act on background checks after mass shooting in Colorado

By: - March 24, 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 […]

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 22: U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) (L) speaks during U.S. Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland's confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill on February 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. Garland was previously the Chief Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and former President Barack Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court

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 […]

Senate confirms Rep. 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. Capitol Photo by Senate Democrats 2020 CC BY 2.0

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, […]

Shalanda Young | CSPAN

OMB deputy nominee Young praised for bipartisan work

By: - March 4, 2021

Shalanda Young went through another confirmation hearing as the nominee for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), as House leaders and caucuses are pushing the Biden administration to nominate her instead to lead the agency.  “This position requires someone with a history of looking beyond partisanship,” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R- Louisiana) […]

Miguel Cardona (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)

Senate confirms Cardona as education secretary

By: - March 1, 2021

Senate confirms MIguel Cardona as education secretary

The U.S. Capitol. Credit: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

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 gradual increase […]

Former (and possibly future) Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack moderates a panel of former Secretaries of Agriculture at the 2012 Agricultural Outlook Forum, “Moving Agriculture Forward” in Arlington, VA on Feb. 23, 2012.

U.S. Senate confirms Vilsack for a second stint as Agriculture secretary

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 […]

Raise the minimum wage Fight for $15 protest in front of McDonalds with signs and press conference

Proposed $15-an-hour minimum wage would boost paychecks

By: - February 12, 2021

WASHINGTON—A gradual increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour would increase the pay of low-income workers across the U.S. but particularly in much of the South, researchers and experts predict. Florida recently voted to increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026, but the Sunshine State is an outlier. Georgia, […]