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 Kansas Reflector. 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.

Liz Cheney ousted from U.S. House GOP leadership for rejecting Trump’s ‘Big Lie’

By: - May 12, 2021

WASHINGTON — House Republicans voted Wednesday to remove U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership position after her continued pushback against former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud in the presidential election. Saying they want to unite the party in an attempt to win back the House in the 2022 midterm elections, GOP […]

Biden to order $15-an-hour minimum wage for federal contract workers

By: - April 27, 2021

WASHINGTON—President Joe Biden plans to sign an executive order Tuesday to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $15 an hour, according to senior administration officials. The order will go into effect Jan. 30 of next year, according to a fact sheet provided by the administration. Once in place through new and extended […]

Vilsack keys in on food insecurity and nutrition in USDA budget request

By: - April 14, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday laid out goals to expand food insecurity and nutrition programs in the president’s budget request, as well as the agency’s focus on programs to address longtime racial discrimination. “Normally I would talk to you all about numbers in the budget,” Vilsack, the former governor of Iowa, […]

Up to 100 new immigration judges would be added under Biden budget request

By: - April 11, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Friday released a budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year that would increase the number of immigration judges and allocate millions in funding to clear backlogs of hearings and asylum requests. The administration is grappling with an influx of asylum seekers at the Southern border after inheriting a gutted […]

Biden administration to suggest model ‘red flag’ gun laws for states

By: - April 7, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice will distribute model “red flag” legislation to states so they can enact laws that would allow courts to temporarily remove a firearm from an individual who is distressed, according to senior Biden administration officials. “The president will not wait for Congress to act before the administration takes our own […]

New unit launched at Interior to investigate missing and murdered Indigenous people

By: - April 3, 2021

The U.S. Department of the Interior is creating a new unit to lead and help coordinate investigations into the ongoing crisis of murdered and missing American Indian and Alaska Native people. Interior Secretary Debra Haaland, the first Indigenous person to lead the agency, announced Thursday the formation of the Missing & Murdered Unit within the […]

Police officer dead after suspect rams car into barricade outside U.S. Capitol

By: - April 2, 2021

WASHINGTON — One U.S. Capitol Police officer was dead and another injured Friday after a driver slammed a car into a barricade outside the Capitol and struck the officers, according to law enforcement. The officer who died was identified as Officer William “Billy” Evans by police. “Officer Evans had been a member of the United […]

Biden to unveil $2T plan to rebuild infrastructure, create jobs, move to clean energy

By: - March 31, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Wednesday in Pennsylvania will unveil a nearly $2 trillion infrastructure package to rebuild highways and bridges, along with funding programs for housing, broadband and schools and increasing U.S. manufacturing jobs over the next eight years, an administration official told reporters on Tuesday night. Alongside the expansive infrastructure plan, the […]

Special Report: Dozens of members of Congress are vaccinated against COVID-19, but some still hesitate

By: and - March 30, 2021

WASHINGTON — Members of Congress were among the first people in the U.S. to have access to the sought-after COVID-19 vaccine when the initial doses became available in December. Three months later, a States Newsroom survey across 22 states — making up a large swath of Congress — found at least 155 members of the […]

U.S. House agriculture panel probes ‘systemic’ USDA discrimination against Black farmers

By: - March 26, 2021

WASHINGTON — The House Agriculture Committee on Thursday heard about how Black farmers have faced decades of racial discrimination in their dealings with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The committee’s chairman, Rep. David Scott, (D-Ga.), said the testimony at the virtual hearing would help the panel craft legislation that aims to increase the number of […]

Biden calls on Senate to act on background checks after mass shooting in Colorado

By: - March 23, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Tuesday urged the U.S. Senate to immediately pass legislation to close loopholes on background checks for guns and to ban assault weapons, following a mass shooting that killed 10 at a Colorado supermarket. “This should not be a partisan issue,” Biden said. “This is an American issue.” Biden’s remarks […]

U.S. House passes sweeping voting rights package

By: - March 4, 2021

The U.S. 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 […]