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.

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 […]

U.S. Senate confirms Michigan’s Granholm as secretary of Energy

By: - February 26, 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 […]

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

By: - February 24, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. 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 […]

U.S. Senate hears from Ohio on the need for economic relief, minimum wage boost

By: - February 19, 2021

WASHINGTON — In anticipation of U.S. House votes on President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, Sen. Sherrod Brown held a Thursday hearing heavy on Ohio witnesses who stressed the urgent need for help at the grassroots. Brown, an Ohio Democrat who chairs the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, said that the […]

Biden backs reparations study, as House Dems push for commission

By: - February 19, 2021

WASHINGTON — The White House on Wednesday indicated that President Joe Biden would support studying reparations for slavery, the same day that House Democrats held a hearing on legislation that would set up a reparations commission. But White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stopped short of saying Biden would sign the bill under consideration by […]

Proposed $15-an-hour minimum wage would boost paychecks in certain areas

By: - February 16, 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 […]

CDC issues detailed strategy for safely reopening K-12 schools

By: - February 13, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday released updated guidance to provide educators a science-based plan for reopening K-12 schools. The agency said it cannot force schools to reopen but can only stress that steps such as wearing masks and physical distancing of at least six feet are key to mitigating the […]

Biden nominees for education and labor posts approved by U.S. Senate panel

By: - February 12, 2021

WASHINGTON — Miguel Cardona was one step closer to leading the U.S. Department of Education on Thursday after the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee moved his nomination to the full Senate for a vote. The panel voted 17-5. Senators also voted 18-4 to advance the nomination of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to serve […]

Outlook for $15-an-hour minimum wage boosted by new government report

By: - February 9, 2021

WASHINGTON — The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office in a report Monday found a gradual increase to a $15 federal minimum wage by 2025 would reduce poverty, add $54 billion to the deficit over a decade and increase pay for millions of low-income workers. The report could help Democrats make a strong case for including a gradual […]

A defiant Marjorie Taylor Greene says she’d be ‘wasting my time’ on committees

By: - February 8, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene told reporters here on Friday that now that she’s lost her committee assignments, she has more time to push a pro-Trump agenda. The House voted late Thursday 230-199 to remove the Georgia Republican from two committee seats she had been assigned by GOP leaders upon arriving in Washington as a freshman […]

Senate Banking advances Fudge nomination to lead HUD

By: - February 4, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Senate Banking Committee on Thursday advanced to the full Senate the nomination of U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The committee’s chair, Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat, said he’s confident that Fudge will work to address the housing crisis and prevent […]

Education secretary nominee says teachers should be prioritized for vaccines

By: - February 4, 2021

WASHINGTON — The president’s pick to lead the U.S. Education Department said Wednesday that he wants teachers at the front of the line for vaccinations as local leaders debate reopening schools amid the pandemic. Miguel Cardona, a veteran educator from Connecticut, in his Senate confirmation hearing also faced questions from several Republicans about transgender students’ […]