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.

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’ […]

Biden rolls back Trump policy on separation of migrant children from their parents

By: - February 3, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden signed three executive orders on Tuesday evening that will reverse controversial policies from the previous administration, including one that resulted in the separation of migrant children from their parents. Biden made it clear during the signing that he was not creating new immigration policies with the executive orders, but reversing […]

U.S. Senate Agriculture panel approves Vilsack as Ag secretary in bipartisan vote

By: - February 2, 2021

WASHINGTON —The Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved Tom Vilsack’s nomination to lead USDA, after a hearing in which Vilsack discussed climate change goals in farming, food insecurity, supply chain problems and inequalities faced by Black farmers. Vilsack, a former Iowa governor who also ran the Agriculture Department for eight years during the Obama […]

Ag nominee Vilsack battles skepticism from Black farmers ahead of confirmation hearing

By: - February 1, 2021

WASHINGTON — Tom Vilsack, the president’s pick to lead the Agriculture Department, will likely face questions about his treatment of Black farmers and his record on civil rights at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday. President Joe Biden’s decision to tap the former Iowa governor, who also served as USDA chief […]

Biden to pause new oil and gas leases on public lands in sweeping climate order

By: - January 27, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is set to sign a host of executive orders on climate Wednesday that will put a hold on new oil and gas leases on federal property, place environmental justice in the center of climate reform and set goals of conserving nearly a third of the nation’s land and water.  On […]

Hawley wants an ethics probe of U.S. Senate Democrats who filed complaint against him

By: - January 25, 2021

WASHINGTON—Seven U.S. Senate Democrats urged the chamber’s ethics panel last week to investigate Sen. Josh Hawley’s role in the pro-Trump assault on the Capitol. Now Hawley is calling for an ethics probe of the Democrats. In a Monday letter, Hawley argued that the Democrats filed an improper complaint last week against him and Sen. Ted […]

Seven U.S. Senate Democrats call for ethics probe of Josh Hawley

By: - January 21, 2021

WASHINGTON—Seven U.S. Senate Democrats on Thursday  urged the chamber’s ethics panel to look into Sen. Josh Hawley’s unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in connection with the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol earlier this month. The Democrats also want a similar probe of Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s actions and the Jan. 6 mob attack. […]

Biden immigration overhaul would open a door to citizenship for 11 million people

By: - January 21, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is poised to send a sweeping immigration reform bill to Congress Thursday that would lay out a path for nearly 11 million undocumented people to obtain citizenship within eight years. Immigration has been one of the toughest issues for Congress to tackle, and the legislation’s fate is unclear in a […]