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. 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.

crew of workers surrounded by equipment working on infrastructure construction roads

Electric buses, asphalt and bridges: Politicians jostle for federal transportation cash

By: and - May 24, 2021

WASHINGTON — The nearly $1 billion that U.S. Rep. Garret Graves is seeking through Congress’ revamped earmarks process isn’t a typo.  The Louisiana Republican says Baton Rouge desperately needs a new bridge to alleviate a crush of roadway congestion — at a cost of $955.2 million for several projects. That far exceeds the $20 million that […]

Classroom of desks row after row that are all empty

Homeless students slipping through the cracks during the pandemic

By: - May 21, 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, […]

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) (Official Portrait)

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 lawmakers in […]

Vice President Kamala Harris looks out the windows of Marine Two (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

VP Harris in Milwaukee visit touts administration’s $2T jobs plan

By: - May 4, 2021

Vice President Kamala Harris visited Milwaukee Tuesday, where she promoted the president’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal and toured two university research centers. Harris highlighted the federal funding the Biden administration plan would allocate for research and development programs aimed at clean energy and climate change solutions, as well as $100 billion that would be spent […]

Rev. Raphael Warnock speaks to supporters outside the Cobb County election headquarters Dec. 17.

Warnock 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 handed his […]

federal minimum wage

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. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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 died in […]

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.

Vilsack keys in on food insecurity and nutrition in USDA budget request

By: - April 15, 2021

WASHINGTON—Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday laid out 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 Iowa, told members […]

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

By: - April 12, 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 […]

President Joe Biden elbow bumps with Gabby Giffords at a White House gun violence event announcing (Photo courtesy of the White House)

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 […]

American Indian red hand over mouth protest of murdered and missing Indigenous women

New unit launched at Interior to investigate cases of missing and murdered indigenous people

By: - April 3, 2021

The U.S. Department of the Interior is creating a new unit to lead and help coordinate investigations into the ongoing crisis of murdered and missing American Indian and Alaska Native people. Interior Secretary Debra Haaland, the first indigenous person to lead the agency, announced Thursday the formation of the Missing & Murdered Unit within the […]

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 02: Law enforcement investigate the scene after a vehicle charged a barricade at the U.S. Capitol. The U.S. Capitol was briefly locked down after a person reportedly rammed a vehicle into multiple Capitol Hill police officers. One officer was killed and one was wounded. The suspect who exited the vehicle with a knife was fatally shot. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Police officer dead after suspect rams car into barricade outside U.S. Capitol

By: - April 2, 2021

WASHINGTON—One U.S. Capitol Police officer was dead and another injured Friday after a driver slammed a car into a barricade outside the Capitol and struck the officers, according to law enforcement. The officer who died was identified as Officer William “Billy” Evans by police. “Officer Evans had been a member of the United States Capitol […]