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. 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.

GOP lawmakers push back against federal probe into threats against school board members

By: - October 7, 2021

WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans on Thursday objected to a move by the Justice Department to investigate violent threats made against local school board members and teachers, arguing that the federal agency is “policing the speech of citizens and concerned parents.” “Violence and true threats of violence should have no place in our civic discourse, but […]

FBI to investigate threats made against school board members, teachers

By: - October 6, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice has directed the FBI to meet with local governments and law enforcement to discuss strategies for dealing with increasing threats to teachers and school board members spurred by a conservative backlash against discussions of race in public schools. “Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter […]

Congress has a plan for universal pre-K. Will states opt in?

By: - October 5, 2021

WASHINGTON — Nearly a fifth of President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion sweeping social spending package is dedicated to providing low-cost care for children from birth to kindergarten—investments that would benefit single parents and low-income families. But how the states implement their programs for pre-K for 3-and 4-year-olds—or whether they even decide to accept the cash, […]

Republicans win congressional dustup on the baseball diamond, amid DC turmoil

By: - September 30, 2021

WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans on Wednesday night were the victors in an annual charity baseball game against Democrats, 13-12, even as a bitterly divided Congress struggles to pass major legislation this week. There were some feel-good moments, like when President Joe Biden passed out ice cream bars in the dugouts and Republican Rep. Greg Steube […]

Congressional panel hears from educators about how to safely reopen schools

By: - September 29, 2021

WASHINGTON — A school superintendent from a large Nevada district on Wednesday described how schools there have coped with the pandemic and returned to in-person learning, as members of Congress examined best practices for safe reopening. Jesus Jara, superintendent of Clark County School District, which includes Las Vegas, told a virtual panel of the House […]

Advocates press for action in Congress on voting rights, despite grim outlook

By: - September 23, 2021

WASHINGTON — Activists are ramping up the pressure on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to move on his chamber’s version of a voting rights bill, even though there’s no sign there will be enough Republican support to advance it. Alternatively, they’re pressing for an end to the filibuster, though there’s no indication there would be […]

Gymnasts urge U.S. Senate to investigate Larry Nassar sexual abuse after botched FBI inquiry

By: - September 16, 2021

WASHINGTON — Olympic gold medalists including Simone Biles and Aly Raisman on Wednesday detailed for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee the failure of the FBI to investigate dozens of complaints of sexual abuse committed by Larry Nassar, the disgraced team doctor for USA Gymnastics and a former Michigan State University physician. The gymnasts also urged […]

Revised voting rights bill rolled out in U.S. Senate, with Manchin on board

By: - September 14, 2021

Senate Democrats on Tuesday unveiled a revamped voting rights bill that would expand voter registration as well as create nonpartisan redistricting committees, but the measure is still likely to face an uphill battle in an evenly divided Senate. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he will bring the legislation to the floor of the Senate […]

Agriculture section of reconciliation bill centers on fighting climate change, enhancing research

By: - September 14, 2021

WASHINGTON—The U.S. House Agriculture Committee on Monday finished marking up its section of the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. The agriculture portion would provide funding for historically Black land grant colleges and investments in urban agriculture, along with boosting U.S. Department of Agriculture programs to address climate change threats in farming. The $66 billion agriculture measure […]

Biden to travel to New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia for 9/11 observances

By: - September 10, 2021

WASHINGTON—To honor the nearly 3,000 Americans who died 20 years ago on 9/11, President Joe Biden will visit the sites of the terrorist attacks. Biden on Saturday will observe the anniversary in New York City, where hijackers crashed two passenger jets into the World Trade Center, killing ​​2,753 people.  He’ll also visit Shanksville, Penn., where […]

U.S. House reconciliation package would provide path to citizenship

By: - September 7, 2021

A provision tucked in the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package would direct Congress to chart a path for citizenship for millions of undocumented people. If passed, the House provision would provide a pathway to citizenship for those in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, often referred to as Dreamers; farmworker workers; those who hold a […]

U.S. military has left Afghanistan; evacuation of Americans and Afghans moves into next phase

By: - August 30, 2021

WASHINGTON — Even as the last military planes left Kabul, members of Congress were still trying to facilitate the evacuations of more Americans and Afghans. Reps. Jason Crow (D-Co.), Andy Kim (D-N.J.) and Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.) are leading efforts to supply names and contacts of Afghans who helped the U.S. in the last 20 years […]