Author

Laura Olson

Laura Olson

Laura covers the nation's capital as a senior reporter for States Newsroom, a network of nonprofit outlets that includes The Missouri Independent. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections, and campaign finance.

At-home COVID tests to be covered by insurance — but details still to come

By: - December 3, 2021

WASHINGTON — State health officials on Thursday welcomed the Biden administration’s plan to require private health insurers to reimburse Americans for the cost of rapid, at-home COVID-19 tests — though the officials also raised questions about whether the process will be burdensome. Making those tests more accessible will allow Americans to get results quickly and […]

Biden to unveil plan to blunt potential COVID surge this winter

By: - December 2, 2021

WASHINGTON — Reimbursements for at-home rapid COVID-19 tests. Tougher testing requirements for international travelers. More emergency response teams to aid states combating infection spikes. And another big push to get Americans vaccinated. Those are the latest steps to fight COVID-19 that President Joe Biden will be announcing Thursday, according to senior administration officials who briefed reporters […]

U.S. Supreme Court considers new limits on abortions in Mississippi case

By: and - December 1, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is weighing potentially sweeping changes to the right to an abortion, after two hours of arguments Wednesday morning on a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The court’s conservatives, who hold a 6-3 majority, appeared through their questions to be sympathetic to Mississippi’s arguments that its […]

Federal vaccine mandate for health care workers in 10 states blocked by judge

By: - November 29, 2021

WASHINGTON — Enforcement of the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for millions of health care workers was blocked in 10 states on Monday, after a ruling by a federal judge in Missouri. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Matthew Schelp affects the states involved in the lawsuit, including Missouri. The others are Iowa, Kansas, New Hampshire, […]

New COVID omicron variant ‘not a cause for panic,’ Biden says

By: - November 29, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden sought to reassure Americans on Monday about the latest COVID-19 variant, describing it as “a cause for concern, not a cause for panic.” Biden did not announce any new travel restrictions or other federal actions during his brief remarks from the White House. Instead, he urged Americans to get a booster […]

How paid leave, a tax cut for the rich and more could get axed from Biden’s social policy bill

By: and - November 23, 2021

WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats cheered on the floor of the U.S. House after approving President Joe Biden’s massive social spending and climate bill. But a major struggle lies ahead in the coming month in the U.S. Senate, where Democrats cannot lose any votes within their party if they are to send the so-called Build Back Better measure […]

House Democrats pass Biden’s $1.85 trillion ‘Build Back Better’ plan

By: , and - November 19, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. House Democrats united around a landmark $1.85 trillion social spending and climate bill on Friday, sending the major plank of President Joe Biden’s economic agenda to the Senate. Democratic leaders in the House heralded the 220-213 near party-line vote on the so-called Build Back Better bill, touting its provisions on child care, education, health care, taxes […]

University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing student Hannah Tipton administers a COVID-19 vaccine to Clifford Nevins during MU Health Care’s vaccination clinic in the Walsworth Family Columns Club

Some states forge ahead with COVID-19 booster shots for all adults

By: - November 18, 2021

WASHINGTON — Federal health officials are expected as soon as Friday to expand access to COVID-19 booster shots to all American adults. But some states aren’t waiting for a green light from D.C. At least six states already have opened up eligibility for the boosters from Pfizer and Moderna beyond the categories specified by federal […]

Biden signs $1.2T infrastructure bill: ‘America is moving again’

By: , and - November 15, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Monday signed into law his $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill during a ceremony at the White House packed with some 800 supporters, heralding what he said was a “truly consequential” spending bill that will improve Americans’ day-to-day lives. But Democrats also emphasized that there is more to come—a $1.85 trillion […]

White House touts clean energy, transit, rail projects in sprawling infrastructure bill

By: and - November 10, 2021

WASHINGTON — Federal officials on Tuesday offered details about how money from the recently passed bipartisan infrastructure bill would be spent, emphasizing the pending law’s potential to add clean energy capacity. Department of Transportation officials highlighted the $1.2 trillion bill’s record funding for public transit like buses and subways, as well as for Amtrak. They […]

Federal vaccine rule for private businesses to kick in on Jan. 4

By: - November 4, 2021

WASHINGTON — Many private employers beginning in January will have to ensure their workers either are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or that they will undergo weekly testing and wear a face covering, under a new federal rule announced Thursday by the White House. The policy from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is set to […]

If CDC signs off, COVID-19 shots for kids to begin later this week

By: - November 1, 2021

WASHINGTON — Within minutes of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s announcement Friday giving the green light to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids aged 5 to 11, a massive logistics operation launched to prepare for the final regulatory step. Some 15 million doses of the vaccine began to move from Pfizer’s freezers to distribution centers, requiring dry […]