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.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks to the U.S. Congress by video on March 16, 2022, at the U.S. Capitol to plead for support as his country is besieged by Russian forces. (J. Scott Applewhite/Getty Images)

Russia says ‘nyet’ to any more visits from hundreds of members of Congress

By: - May 27, 2022

WASHINGTON — Hundreds of members of Congress are permanently banned from visiting Russia, in retaliation for passing economic sanctions on the country after it invaded Ukraine in late February. The list of nearly 1,000 Americans includes President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, along with celebrities such as actor Morgan Freeman, executives such as […]

People gather outside of Tops market on May 15, 2022, in Buffalo, New York. A gunman opened fire at the store, killing 10 people and wounding another three. Suspect Payton Gendron was taken into custody and charged with first degree murder for what authorities described as a racially motivated hate crime. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

U.S. Senate Republicans block bill requiring agencies monitor domestic terrorism

By: - May 26, 2022

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked a bill that would require federal agencies to monitor domestic terrorism incidents, including those potentially related to white supremacy. The failure of the Senate procedural vote showed again how difficult it is for Congress to agree on any response to U.S. gun violence. It followed a racist […]

People gather outside of Tops market on May 15, 2022, in Buffalo, New York. A gunman opened fire at the store, killing 10 people and wounding another three. Suspect Payton Gendron was taken into custody and charged with first degree murder for what authorities described as a racially motivated hate crime. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

U.S. Senate Republicans block bill requiring agencies monitor domestic terrorism

By: - May 26, 2022

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked a bill that would require federal agencies to monitor domestic terrorism incidents, including those potentially related to white supremacy. The failure of the Senate procedural vote showed again how difficult it is for Congress to agree on any response to U.S. gun violence. It followed a racist […]

Frustrated Democrats call for GOP help on federal gun laws after mass school shooting

By: - May 25, 2022

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday implored Senate Republicans to work with Democrats to pass bipartisan gun control legislation, following a mass school shooting that took the lives of 19 children and two teachers in Texas. Tuesday’s massacre was the nation’s second-deadliest mass school shooting since another at Sandy Hook Elementary […]

In the past nine months, hundreds of books across dozens of states are being banned at an alarming rate. A majority of the bans feature books written by authors who are people of color, LGBTQ+, Black and Indigenous, and feature characters from marginalized groups. (Getty Images)

Freedom of speech is under attack in public schools, U.S. House panel told

By: - May 22, 2022

Students and teachers told U.S. House members during a Thursday hearing that their right to talk about race and LGBTQ+ issues in public schools is being silenced due to an onslaught of new state laws as well as pressure on school boards from right-wing advocates. “To be crystal clear, this is about disrupting and destroying […]

Congress explores creation of truth commission for U.S. Indian Boarding Schools

By: - May 15, 2022

WASHINGTON — Survivors of a U.S. policy that forced Indigenous children to attend boarding schools where they were abused, or went missing, detailed to members of a U.S. House Natural Resources panel during a Thursday hearing the need for Congress to establish a truth commission dedicated to unveiling the traumas Indigenous children experienced at the […]

Supporters of women's reproductive rights gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court on May 3, 2022, in protest of a leaked draft ruling that shows the court plans to overturn Roe v. Wade. (Jane Norman/States Newsroom)

Overturning Roe would hand power over abortion to states. Many would ban it.

By: and - May 4, 2022

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down a nearly 50-year-old right to abortion would lead to strict restrictions or bans by states across nearly half the country almost immediately. The court is poised to overturn the landmark 1973 case Roe v. Wade, as well as a subsequent ruling on fetal viability, according to an initial […]

Supporters of women's reproductive rights gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court on May 3, 2022, in protest of a leaked draft ruling that shows the court plans to overturn Roe v. Wade. (Jane Norman/States Newsroom)

Biden on leaked draft opinion on abortion: The ‘right to choose is fundamental’

By: - May 3, 2022

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said Tuesday that his administration “will be ready when any ruling is issued” on abortion rights, after the nation was rocked by the leak of a draft opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court that confirmed the court is planning to overturn access to abortion. “I believe that a woman’s right […]

Democrats on the Subcommittee on Elections expressed their concern about how communities of color are the subject of election and COVID-19 misinformation through various social media platforms, such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Discord, among others. (Russ Rohde/Getty Images)

U.S. House panel looks into disinformation targeted at communities of color

By: - April 30, 2022

WASHINGTON — Experts tracking disinformation efforts online detailed to lawmakers on a U.S. House Administration panel Thursday how communities of color are targets for those disinformation campaigns. Democrats on the Subcommittee on Elections expressed their concern about how communities of color are the subject of election and COVID-19 misinformation through various social media platforms such […]

President Joe Biden touts the summertime sale of E15 on April 12, 2022, in Menlo, Iowa. (Katie Akin/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

EPA issues waiver for sales of 15 percent ethanol blend during summer driving season

By: - April 29, 2022

WASHINGTON — The EPA issued a fuel waiver Friday afternoon to allow for a heightened ethanol gasoline blend to be sold at service stations this summer, an attempt by the Biden administration to lower soaring fuel prices.  In a letter to Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, EPA administrator Michael S. Regan wrote that the waiver will […]

Democrats blame the oil industry for soaring gas prices, Republicans blame President Joe Biden, and oil executives blame global market forces. (Wes Muller/Louisiana Illuminator)

Democratic leaders in Congress want more power for regulators over high gasoline prices

By: - April 29, 2022

WASHINGTON — Democratic leaders in Congress critical of soaring gasoline prices say they will push legislation to allow the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general to go after oil companies that engage in price gouging in times of crisis.  “Big oil has profited in this (and) has exploited the market,” House Speaker Nancy […]

In the past nine months, hundreds of books across dozens of states are being banned at an alarming rate. A majority of the bans feature books written by authors who are people of color, LGBTQ+, Black and Indigenous, and feature characters from marginalized groups. (Getty Images)

LGBTQ community, people of color in the crosshairs of banned book movement

By: - April 18, 2022

Students in one Pennsylvania school district were not allowed to read a biography of the first Black president, Barack Obama. In some Tennessee classrooms, a nonfiction comic book about the atrocities of the Holocaust is banned. And one school district in Wisconsin banned from libraries a picture book about a gay rights activist who was […]