Author

Ariana Figueroa

Ariana Figueroa

Ariana Figueroa covers the nation's capital for States Newsroom, a network of state-based nonprofit news outlets that includes The Missouri Independent. 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.

Immigration reform blocked from reconciliation bill in Congress, but Democrats vow to try again

By: - September 20, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate parliamentarian has turned down a plan to include a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented people in the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, a blow for Democrats and immigration advocacy groups when the decision was disclosed late Sunday. “We are deeply disappointed in this decision but the fight to provide […]

Revised voting rights bill rolled out in U.S. Senate, with Manchin on board

By: - September 14, 2021

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats on Tuesday unveiled a revamped voting rights bill that would expand voter registration as well as create nonpartisan redistricting committees, but the measure is still likely to face an uphill battle in an evenly divided Senate. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he will bring the legislation to the floor of […]

Agriculture section of federal reconciliation bill centers on climate change, enhancing research

By: - September 14, 2021

WASHINGTON—The U.S. House Agriculture Committee on Monday finished marking up its section of the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. The agriculture portion would provide funding for historically Black land grant colleges and investments in urban agriculture, along with boosting U.S. Department of Agriculture programs to address climate change threats in farming. The $66 billion agriculture measure passed along […]

Universal pre-K, free community college included in sweeping reconciliation bill

By: - September 13, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House Education & Labor Committee on Friday finished a marathon markup of legislation that would provide universal pre-K education, expand federal Pell Grants for college students and institute two years of free community college. The $761 billion measure, approved on a party-line 28-22 vote, will be combined with other pieces of […]

Biden to travel to New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia for 9/11 observances

By: - September 10, 2021

WASHINGTON — To honor the nearly 3,000 Americans who died 20 years ago on 9/11, President Joe Biden will visit the sites of the terrorist attacks. Biden on Saturday will observe the anniversary in New York City, where hijackers crashed two passenger jets into the World Trade Center, killing ​​2,753 people. He’ll also visit Shanksville, Penn., where 40 […]

House reconciliation package would provide path to citizenship

By: - September 3, 2021

A provision tucked in the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package would direct Congress to chart a path for citizenship for millions of undocumented people. If passed, the House provision would provide a pathway to citizenship for those in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, often referred to as Dreamers; farmworker workers; those who hold a Temporary […]

Voting by proxy becomes business as usual in the U.S. House

By: - August 20, 2021

WASHINGTON —Data from roll call votes shows that 171 U.S. House Democrats and 89 Republicans have voted by proxy at least once since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi  authorized the pandemic-era practice beginning last year. Pelosi has now announced the extension of proxy voting until Oct. 1 as the delta variant of the coronavirus continues to […]

U.S. House Dems unveil new voting rights bill named for John Lewis

By: - August 17, 2021

WASHINGTON — At the base of the bridge in Selma, Ala., where the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia almost died while marching for civil rights, congressional Democrats announced Tuesday the introduction of legislation that aims to protect voting rights across the country. Rep. Terri Sewell, an Alabama Democrat, unveiled what will be designated […]

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 […]

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, known […]

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

By: - August 4, 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 […]

After pressure from Cori Bush, feds order eviction ban in areas with high COVID rate

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 […]