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.

Governor vetoes bill that would've allowed concealed guns without permit

Federal background checks on ammunition sales pushed by Democrats

By: - April 21, 2021

WASHINGTON—Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut on Tuesday reintroduced legislation that would require instant background checks to prevent individuals with a criminal record from illegally purchasing ammunition. The measure backed by the Democrats, known as Jaime’s Law, is named in honor of Jaime Guttenberg, a student who died in […]

Georgia voting law pummeled at U.S. Senate hearing on ‘Jim Crow 2021’

By: - April 20, 2021

WASHINGTON—Georgia’s new voting law was at the center of Tuesday’s U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, where senators discussed restoration of a key section in the Voting Rights Act that would prevent states, mostly in the South, from changing their election laws without federal approval. During the more than four-hour hearing, witnesses opposed to the sweeping […]

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

By: - April 14, 2021

WASHINGTON—Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday laid out USDA’s goals to expand food insecurity and nutrition progrmas 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 […]

Julia Letlow sworn in as Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District representative

By: - April 14, 2021

WASHINGTON—U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi swore in Rep. Julia Letlow on Wednesday afternoon—the first Republican woman to represent Louisiana in Congress. Letlow, 40, takes the place of her husband, Luke, to represent the 5th Congressional District of Louisiana after he died of COVID-19 last year days after he won a special election to replace retiring […]

U.S. gun violence an ‘international embarrassment,’ Biden says in rolling out executive action

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 Colorado and Georgia. “Gun violence in this country is an epidemic and it’s an international embarrassment,” Biden said in remarks […]

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 suspect in the vehicle was shot and killed, said Yogananda Pittman, the acting chief of the U.S. Capitol Police, during a press conference. […]

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

By: - April 2, 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 […]

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 president will […]

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 and […]

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 […]

Louisiana’s Shalanda Young confirmed as OMB deputy

By: - March 23, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed the nomination of Shalanda Young of Louisiana to serve as deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget in a 63-37 vote. House Democratic leaders including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D-Calif.), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, (D-Md.), and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, (D-S.C.), have pushed for President Joe […]

Nomination of Louisiana’s Shalanda Young as deputy OMB chief moves ahead

By: - March 10, 2021

WASHINGTON—The nomination of Shalanda Young of Louisiana as deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget was advanced by two Senate committees on Wednesday, as the White House considers its new pick for the top OMB post. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted along party lines 7-6 and the Budget Committee […]