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.

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

By: - April 15, 2021

WASHINGTON—Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday laid out USDA’s 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, told members […]

U.S. gun violence an ‘international embarrassment,’ Biden says

By: - April 9, 2021

WASHINGTON—President Joe Biden on Thursday reiterated his call on Congress to pass stalled gun legislation reform but also outlined executive action he’s taking on several gun control measures, following deadly mass shootings last month in Georgia and Colorado. “Gun violence in this country is an epidemic and it’s an international embarrassment,” Biden said in remarks […]

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

By: - April 7, 2021

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

Voting rights advocates air worries about flurry of new state election laws

By: - April 1, 2021

WASHINGTON—A U.S. House elections panel on Thursday heard from witnesses about the need to craft a new formula that identifies which states or jurisdictions have problematic histories of racial discrimination when it comes to access to the ballot box. The hearing in the House Administration Committee’s elections subcommittee also served as a way for voting […]

Special Report: Greene rare Congress member who declines COVID vaccine

By: and - March 31, 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 and Senate have […]

Scott’s House Ag panel probes 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, an Atlanta Democrat, said the testimony at the virtual hearing would help the panel craft legislation that aims to increase the […]

Biden calls for background checks after Ga., Colorado mass shootings

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 […]

Venezuelans in Georgia and across the U.S. gain deportation protection

By: - March 11, 2021

WASHINGTON—The Biden administration is granting temporary protection for hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans living in the U.S. who fled the economic crisis in their home country. An estimated 349,000 Venezuelans live in the U.S., according to a 2018 report by the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan organization that conducts research on migration. More than half of […]

U.S. Senate confirms Merrick Garland as attorney general

By: - March 10, 2021

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Senate Wednesday confirmed Merrick Garland to serve as U.S. attorney general in a 70-30 vote. Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced his nomination in a 15-7 vote. Garland served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. As attorney general, he’ll lead the Justice Department as the […]

Senate advances coronavirus relief aid with help of Ossoff and Warnock

By: - March 6, 2021

The U.S. Senate passed President Joe Biden’s nearly $2 trillion stimulus plan Saturday afternoon after wrangling over an amendment to trim unemployment benefits derailed the bill’s passage for nearly an entire day. The Senate version, which does not include a federal minimum wage hike and puts limits on the funding for state and local governments, […]

White House budget office nominee Young praised for bipartisan work

By: - March 4, 2021

Shalanda Young went through another confirmation hearing as the nominee for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, as House leaders and caucuses are pushing the Biden administration to nominate her instead to lead the agency. “This position requires someone with a history of looking beyond partisanship,” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R- Louisiana) said during […]

Sweeping voting rights package passes U.S. House

By: - March 4, 2021

The U.S. House of Representatives 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 […]