Author

Ariana Figueroa

Ariana Figueroa

Ariana covers the nation's capital for States Newsroom, including 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. 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.

U.S. Senate confirms Vilsack for a second stint as Agriculture secretary

By: - February 23, 2021

WASHINGTON—The Senate on Tuesday in a 92-7 vote confirmed former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack to run the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a second time. Vilsack, 70, also headed the $151 billion agency under the Obama administration, for eight years.  But he has garnered criticism from Black and minority farmers for his treatment of them […]

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 […]

Report: $15-an-hour minimum wage would reduce poverty, cut jobs

By: - February 9, 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 […]

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, […]

Election reform to return as a priority for Dems in Congress

By: - January 29, 2021

WASHINGTON—Democrats who control Congress by narrow margins and the White House are making a fresh attempt to move forward a massive package that tackles dark money in campaigns, voter suppression and election security. The architect of the bill, Rep. John Sarbanes, said in an interview that the tumultuous 2020 election was a perfect example of […]

No, you’re outta order! Hawley accuses Sen. Tina Smith, other Democrats of ethics breach

By: - January 25, 2021

WASHINGTON—Seven U.S. Senate Democrats including Sen. Tina Smith urged the chamber’s ethics panel to investigate Sen. Josh Hawley’s role in the pro-Trump assault on the Capitol, and the Missouri Republican is now asking the committee to do the same. In a Monday letter, Hawley argued that the seven Democrats filed an improper complaint last week […]

Sen. Tina Smith among seven Senate Dems calling for ethics probe of Hawley, Cruz

By: - January 21, 2021

WASHINGTON— Seven U.S. Senate Democrats including Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith urged the chamber’s ethics panel Thursday to look into Sen. Josh Hawley’s unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in connection with the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol earlier this month. The Democrats also want a similar probe of Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s actions and […]

President Biden urges a divided nation to ‘end this uncivil war’ in inaugural address

By: and - January 20, 2021

WASHINGTON — Calling on Americans to bridge the widening divisions in the country, Joe Biden became the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday, completing the peaceful transition of presidential power on the same stage where a violent mob just two weeks ago sought to prevent him from taking office. Standing before an unusually […]

U.S. House votes to again impeach Trump, as a ‘clear and present danger’

By: - January 13, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House voted Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time, charging him with inciting violent rioters last week who rampaged through the U.S. Capitol, temporarily derailing the tally of presidential votes and leading to at least five deaths. The 232-197 vote concluded a swift, truncated process in the House, […]

More than 170 cases opened in federal probe of U.S. Capitol attack

By: - January 12, 2021

WASHINGTON—Almost a week after a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, top officials at the FBI and Department of Justice held their first press conference on Tuesday to announce that they are directing prosecutors to issue a slew of sedition and conspiracy charges against pro-Trump rioters. More than 170 cases have been opened relating to […]

Multiple investigations opened into the death of U.S. Capitol Police officer in pro-Trump riots

By: - January 8, 2021

WASHINGTON — A Capitol Police officer died late Thursday from injuries he sustained while a violent mob breached the U.S. Capitol as lawmakers were set to vote to certify the presidential election results. The officer, Brian Sicknick, died at 9:30 p.m. at a local hospital, according to U.S. Capitol Police. His death is being investigated […]

Congress certifies Biden as president after rioting mob is driven from the Capitol

By: and - January 7, 2021

WASHINGTON — After a day of insurrection and deadly violence at the U.S. Capitol, lawmakers early Thursday certified Electoral College votes declaring Joe Biden the winner of the November presidential election. But as they moved toward the certain outcome of victory for Biden, some Republicans backed away from their earlier objections to the certification. That […]