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.

Sprawling $1.9T COVID-19 relief bill passed by the U.S. House

By: - February 27, 2021

WASHINGTON—The U.S. House on a nearly party-line vote passed President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic aid package early Saturday, in a rush to both boost COVID-19 vaccine funding and get legislation to the president’s desk before unemployment benefits expire in mid-March. The package, dubbed the American Rescue Plan, passed 219-212. It includes a gradual increase […]

Haaland faces GOP critics at her Interior confirmation hearing

By: - February 24, 2021

WASHINGTON — Rep. Deb Haaland confronted expected tough questioning from Republican senators on Tuesday at her confirmation hearing to become the first Native American secretary of the Department of the Interior. But the New Mexico Democrat also drew support from Rep. Don Young, a longtime Alaska Republican who made a quick appearance to praise her […]

Biden backs reparations study, as House Dems push for commission

By: - February 18, 2021

WASHINGTON—The White House on Wednesday indicated that President Joe Biden would support studying reparations for slavery, the same day that House Democrats held a hearing on legislation that would set up a reparations commission. But White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stopped short of saying Biden would sign the bill under consideration by the House […]

Proposed $15-an-hour minimum wage would boost paychecks in the South

By: - February 15, 2021

WASHINGTON—A gradual increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour would increase the pay of low-income workers across the U.S. but particularly in much of the South, researchers and experts predict. Florida recently voted to increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026, but the Sunshine State is an outlier. Georgia, […]

CDC issues detailed strategy for safely reopening K-12 schools

By: - February 13, 2021

WASHINGTON—The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday released updated guidance to provide educators a science-based plan for reopening K-12 schools. The agency said it cannot force schools to reopen but can only stress that steps such as wearing masks and physical distancing of at least 6 feet are key to mitigating the spread […]

Outlook for $15-an-hour minimum wage boosted by new government report

By: - February 8, 2021

WASHINGTON—The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office in a report Monday found a gradual increase to a $15 federal minimum wage by 2025 would reduce poverty, add $54 billion to the deficit over a decade and increase pay for millions of low-income workers. The report could help Democrats make a strong case for including a gradual federal […]

A defiant Marjorie Taylor Greene says she’d be ‘wasting my time’ on committees

By: - February 5, 2021

WASHINGTON—U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene told reporters here on Friday that now that she’s lost her committee assignments, she has more time to push a pro-Trump agenda. The House voted late Thursday 230-199 to remove the Georgia Republican from two committee seats she had been assigned by GOP leaders upon arriving in Washington as a […]

Education secretary nominee says teachers should be prioritized for vaccines

By: - February 3, 2021

WASHINGTON—The president’s pick to lead the U.S. Education Department said Wednesday that he wants teachers at the front of the line for vaccinations as local leaders debate reopening schools amid the pandemic. Miguel Cardona, a veteran educator from Connecticut, in his Senate confirmation hearing also faced questions from several Republicans about transgender students’ participation in […]

Biden rolls back Trump policy on separation of migrant children from their parents

By: - February 3, 2021

WASHINGTON—President Joe Biden signed three executive orders on Tuesday evening that will reverse controversial policies from the previous administration, including one that resulted in the separation of migrant children from their parents. Biden made it clear during the signing that he was not creating new immigration policies with the executive orders, but reversing those crafted […]

U.S. Senate Agriculture panel approves Vilsack as Ag secretary in bipartisan vote

By: - February 2, 2021

WASHINGTON—The Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved Tom Vilsack’s nomination to lead USDA, after a hearing in which Vilsack discussed climate change goals in farming, food insecurity, supply chain problems and inequalities faced by Black farmers. Vilsack, a former Iowa governor who also ran the Agriculture Department for eight years during the Obama administration, […]

Dems move to strip committee assignments from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene

By: - February 1, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House Rules Committee is set to meet on Wednesday to consider a resolution that would strip Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of her two committee assignments.  If approved for debate by the panel, the resolution would move to the floor of the Democratic-controlled House for a vote. It is included […]

Ag nominee Vilsack battles skepticism from Black farmers ahead of confirmation hearing

By: - February 1, 2021

WASHINGTON—Tom Vilsack, the president’s pick to lead the Agriculture Department, will likely face questions about his treatment of Black farmers and his record on civil rights at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday. President Joe Biden’s decision to tap the former Iowa governor, who also served as USDA chief during the […]