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.

Senate GOP torpedoes U.S. government funding bill, raising odds of federal fiscal crises

By: - September 27, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate Republicans blocked an attempt by Democrats on Monday evening to begin debate on a broad bill that would avert multiple looming fiscal crises for the federal government. The measure to briefly keep the government operating past the end of the fiscal year on Thursday, as well as to increase the borrowing limit […]

Who will get a booster shot? A Q-and-A about what the feds are saying

By: - September 24, 2021

WASHINGTON — Booster shots soon will begin rolling out to some Americans who received the two-shot vaccine made by Pfizer—after a contentious and confusing federal approval process that isn’t over yet. Determining who exactly should be rolling up their sleeves for an additional dose was tricky. The Biden administration had leapfrogged federal regulatory panels in […]

Orphaned, infected, in crisis: How the pandemic is traumatizing kids

By: - September 23, 2021

WASHINGTON — The coronavirus pandemic has brought heartbreaking consequences for millions of U.S. children, even as most avoided serious illness themselves, pediatric experts told Congress on Wednesday. Take, for instance, a young girl from Tennessee named Sophia, whose story was relayed by Dr. Margaret Rush, president of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University. Within […]

U.S. House passes short-term spending bill to keep government open until December

By: - September 22, 2021

WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats approved a short-term spending measure Tuesday over GOP opposition that would keep the federal government operating through Dec. 3 and provide $28.6 billion for costs related to recent natural disasters. The bill faces a battle in the evenly divided Senate, where Republicans are opposed to a provision raising the debt ceiling. The spending […]

People hold up signs that read "Protect safe, legal abortion."

U.S. Supreme Court schedules Dec. 1 oral arguments in major abortion case

By: - September 20, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Dec. 1 in a case that threatens to overturn decades of abortion protections established under the landmark 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade. The upcoming case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, stems from a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks. It has been […]

Republican AGs urge Biden administration to give up on vaccine requirements

By: - September 17, 2021

WASHINGTON — More than 20 Republican state attorneys general — including Missouri’s Eric Schmitt — are threatening to sue the Biden administration over its mandate that large employers require their employees to either be vaccinated against the coronavirus or undergo weekly testing. In a Thursday letter, the 24 attorneys general pushed the administration to remove the […]

How U.S. House Democrats would expand Medicare and Medicaid

By: - September 17, 2021

WASHINGTON — New Medicare benefits for older Americans, like dental care. An expansion of eligibility for Medicaid for low-income people in Republican-controlled states that have declined to take that step. And potentially an historic effort to rein in prescription drug prices — if congressional Democrats can work through objections from moderates in their party. The massive […]

Putting on pandemic pounds: State obesity rates hit all-time highs

By: - September 15, 2021

WASHINGTON — The number of states with high obesity among residents has nearly doubled since 2018, according to new data Wednesday from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There were 16 states that had obesity rates among adult residents of at least 35% last year, with Iowa, Ohio, Delaware and Texas on that list for […]

Billions of dollars in federal rental aid remains stalled in slow-moving states, localities

By: - September 13, 2021

WASHINGTON — Make it simpler to apply for rental assistance money. Allow landlords to apply on behalf of unresponsive tenants. And consolidate two overlapping federal programs aimed at getting financial help to struggling renters. Those were among the proposals that U.S. House members weighed during a hearing Friday on how to better help states and localities […]

COVID-19 vaccines or weekly tests to be mandated for millions of U.S. workers

By: - September 9, 2021

WASHINGTON — More than 80 million employees of private businesses in the U.S. will be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing as part of the Biden administration’s latest strategy for combating the still-surging coronavirus pandemic. The upcoming vaccine rule for companies with at least 100 employees is one plank of an […]

Biden to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for federal employees and contractors, reports say

By: - September 9, 2021

WASHINGTON — Federal employees will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with no opt-out for testing under an executive order that President Joe Biden is expected to sign Thursday, according to several news outlets. The new requirement will be rolled out as Biden gives a major address Thursday afternoon on new national strategies for combating […]

White House seeks at least $24 billion to aid states struck natural disasters

By: - September 8, 2021

WASHINGTON — The White House is urging Congress to approve at least $24 billion — and likely more — for disaster relief costs, saying that the aid should be included in a short-term spending bill expected this month. That tally includes $14 billion for recovery costs related to extreme weather events including hurricanes, floods and wildfires during […]