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.

Congress clears $1.9T emergency relief package for Biden’s signature

By: - March 10, 2021

WASHINGTON — A sweeping $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package is headed to President Joe Biden’s desk after the U.S. House passed the latest pandemic relief measure Wednesday on a party-line vote. The massive bill includes a new round of $1,400 direct checks for many Americans, as well as an extension of expanded unemployment checks to assist […]

U.S. Senate confirms Ohio’s Marcia Fudge as HUD secretary

By: - March 10, 2021

WASHINGTON — 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 […]

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, […]

Sweeping voting rights package passes U.S. House

By: - March 4, 2021

The House passed sweeping voting rights, redistricting, campaign finance and ethics reform, late Wednesday night along party lines in a 220 to 210 vote, but the historic package will face an uphill battle in the Senate as no Republicans currently support the bill.  Even though Democrats control Congress and the White House, their slim majority […]

U.S. Senate confirms Cardona as education secretary

By: - March 2, 2021

The Senate on Monday confirmed Miguel Cardona to lead the U.S. Department of Education in a 64-33 vote. Cardona, a longtime educator from Connecticut, will be tasked with helping schools reopen during the pandemic and leading the $68 billion agency.  “There is no one better suited for this job in this moment than Miguel Cardona,” […]

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 […]

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 […]

Biden backs reparations study, as House Dems push for commission

By: - February 18, 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 […]

CDC issues detailed strategy for safely reopening K-12 schools

By: - February 12, 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 6 feet are key to mitigating […]

Proposed $15-an-hour minimum wage would boost paychecks in the South

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 […]

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

By: - February 8, 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 […]

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’ […]