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.

Federal prisons ‘riddled with mismanagement’ probed by U.S. Senate panel

By: - September 30, 2022

WASHINGTON — Members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in a Thursday hearing grilled the top leader of federal prisons on how the agency would address staffing shortages and reports of abuse of incarcerated people.  “The Bureau (of Prisons) has been riddled with mismanagement and, sadly, with scandal,” said the chair of the committee, Illinois […]

U.S. government failed to properly count deaths of people in prisons and jails, Senate report says

By: - September 20, 2022

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice did not properly count nearly 1,000 deaths of incarcerated people in jails and prisons, according to a bipartisan report released Tuesday by a U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee.  The 10-month investigation by the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by Georgia Sen. Jon Ossoff, found […]

An ‘unprecedented flood’ of book bans engulfs U.S. school districts, PEN report says

By: - September 20, 2022

WASHINGTON — More than 1,600 book titles across 32 states were banned from public schools during the 2021-2022 school year, with the bulk of the ban requests coming from a handful of right-wing groups pushing for censorship of books that feature LGBTQ+ characters and characters of color, a new report issued Monday said. “What I […]

U.S. education secretary urges boost in teacher pay, touts college debt relief

By: - September 7, 2022

WASHINGTON — Amid K-12 teacher shortages, book bans and attacks over critical race theory, U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona at a meeting with reporters on Wednesday stressed the need for higher salaries to attract prospective educators to the profession. Cardona also touted the Biden administration’s recent student debt relief announcement in late August. The White […]

Biden to wipe out $10,000 in student loan debt for many borrowers

By: - August 24, 2022

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that he will cancel up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt for Pell Grant borrowers and up to $10,000 for all other borrowers with an income of less than $125,000 for an individual and $250,000 for a household. Biden also announced his administration is extending a pause […]

U.S. Senate passes major health, tax and climate bill in boost for Democrats

By: and - August 7, 2022

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate, along party lines, passed a sweeping energy, health care, climate and tax package Sunday afternoon, following an overnight marathon of votes that resulted in just a handful of notable changes to the legislation. The 755-page bill was passed after Vice President Kamala Harris broke a 50-50 tie in the evenly […]

U.S. Senate Democrats’ climate, health and tax bill clears first hurdle to passage

By: and - August 6, 2022

The U.S. Senate voted along party lines Saturday night to advance to debate on Democrats’ sweeping energy, health and taxes bill, clearing a major hurdle to passage. The 51-50 vote, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie, cleared the chamber to debate and vote on amendments to the measure and indicated that it had […]

Federal officials declare a public health emergency for monkeypox

By: - August 4, 2022

WASHINGTON —  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra announced Thursday a public health emergency for the monkeypox virus, which means the federal government can more quickly assist states with distributing vaccines and conducting testing and public health campaigns.  “We’re prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this […]

Members of U.S. Senate committee consider bipartisan changes to Electoral Count Act

By: - August 3, 2022

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers and legal experts at a U.S. Senate hearing on Wednesday outlined the need to pass legislation clarifying an archaic election law so that the peaceful transfer of presidential power is ensured. The Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act, a bipartisan bill being pushed by 16 senators, was proposed after the […]

Biden to sign order on out-of-state abortion access

By: - August 3, 2022

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will sign an executive order Wednesday that aims to help pregnant patients cover the cost of travel to access abortion health care, a senior administrative official said. The executive order does not protect access to abortion, which was overturned in late June by the conservative majority of the Supreme Court […]

eviction

Record rent increases, low wages are driving an eviction crisis, U.S. Senate panel told

By: - August 2, 2022

WASHINGTON — Witnesses in a Tuesday hearing detailed to a U.S. Senate committee how investors and stagnant wages are driving an eviction and housing crisis across the U.S.  The chair of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, said that families are being priced out of buying homes, and rising […]

Democrats in Congress press Biden to extend pause on student loans

By: - July 29, 2022

WASHINGTON  — More than 100 congressional Democrats — including Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith and Rep. Ilhan Omar — are urging the White House to extend the pause on student loan repayment beyond the Aug. 31 deadline. In a Thursday letter to President Joe Biden and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, U.S. Senate and House Democrats […]