Author

Laura Olson

Laura Olson

Laura covers the nation's capital as a senior reporter for States Newsroom, a network of nonprofit outlets that includes Minnesota Reformer. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections, and campaign finance.

Misinformation abounds as U.S. House panel questions Arizona’s presidential election ‘audit’

By: - October 8, 2021

WASHINGTON — It didn’t take long for Thursday’s congressional hearing about a controversial ballot review in Arizona to demonstrate the persistent misinformation about the validity of last year’s presidential election. Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat, asked his colleague, Arizona Republican Andy Biggs, if he accepts the findings of the GOP-led review of ballots in Maricopa […]

Cyber Ninjas CEO refuses to testify at congressional hearing on Arizona ‘audit’

By: - October 6, 2021

WASHINGTON — When the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee holds a hearing Thursday to probe the so-called election “audit” in Arizona, the CEO of the company hired to conduct that controversial review will be absent. Doug Logan, CEO of Cyber Ninjas, was asked to testify but told committee officials ahead of the hearing that he […]

Why there’s such an impasse in Congress: Some questions and answers

By: and - October 1, 2021

WASHINGTON — Congress may have kept the federal government operating with an 11th-hour flurry of votes on Thursday, but several key pieces of the Democratic agenda remain in limbo. Here are some questions and answers on where negotiations stand with two massive Democratic-drafted bills — and the status of other looming challenges for federal lawmakers:  President […]

Congress passes bill to prevent government shutdown, send out $28.6B in disaster aid

By: - September 30, 2021

WASHINGTON — Congress made a last-minute dash to avert a government shutdown on Thursday, with the U.S. Senate and House approving a short-term spending bill just hours ahead of a midnight deadline. Every Democratic and independent senator and 15 Republicans supported the bill in the 65-35 vote.  The House later passed the federal spending bill […]

U.S. House oversight panel seeks testimony from company conducting Arizona election ‘audit’

By: - September 24, 2021

WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats on Friday requested that the company behind a months-long review of Arizona’s election results appear at a hearing next month, after officials from Cyber Ninjas refused to cooperate with document requests from the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee. Top Democrats on that panel, Reps. Carolyn Maloney of New York and Jamie […]

Who will get a booster shot? A Q-and-A about what the feds are saying

By: - September 24, 2021

WASHINGTON — Booster shots soon will begin rolling out to some Americans who received the two-shot vaccine made by Pfizer—after a contentious and confusing federal approval process that isn’t over yet. Determining who exactly should be rolling up their sleeves for an additional dose was tricky. The Biden administration had leapfrogged federal regulatory panels in […]

Orphaned, infected, in crisis: How the pandemic is traumatizing kids

By: - September 22, 2021

WASHINGTON — The coronavirus pandemic has brought heartbreaking consequences for millions of U.S. children, even as most avoided serious illness themselves, pediatric experts told Congress on Wednesday. Take, for instance, a young girl from Tennessee named Sophia, whose story was relayed by Dr. Margaret Rush, president of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University. Within […]

U.S. Supreme Court schedules Dec. 1 oral arguments in major abortion case

By: - September 20, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Dec. 1 in a case that threatens to overturn decades of abortion protections established under the landmark 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade. The upcoming case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, stems from a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks. It […]

FDA panel backs COVID-19 booster shots only for elderly and high-risk Americans

By: - September 18, 2021

WASHINGTON — A federal health advisory panel wrestled Friday with whether to widely authorize a booster dose of Pfizer’s two-shot COVID-19 vaccine for most Americans, ultimately recommending that a third dose be offered only to older or higher-risk individuals.   The Biden administration had hoped that states could begin rolling out a wide national booster shot […]

How House Democrats would expand Medicare and Medicaid and lower prescription drug costs

By: - September 17, 2021

WASHINGTON — New Medicare benefits for older Americans, like dental care. An expansion of eligibility for Medicaid for low-income people in Republican-controlled states that have declined to take that step. And potentially an historic effort to rein in prescription drug prices — if congressional Democrats can work through objections from moderates in their party. The massive […]

COVID-19 vaccines or weekly tests to be mandated for millions of U.S. workers

By: - September 9, 2021

WASHINGTON — More than 80 million employees of private businesses in the U.S. will be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing as part of the Biden administration’s latest strategy for combating the still-surging coronavirus pandemic. The upcoming vaccine rule for companies with at least 100 employees is one plank of an […]

Minnesota borrowed from feds to cover unemployment comp. Now the interest is piling on.

By: - September 7, 2021

WASHINGTON — Minnesota, which struggled to pay the mounting costs of rising unemployment compensation claims during the COVID-19 pandemic, faces yet another challenge: The interest on federal loans it relied on to cover payments to the unemployed started accruing Monday. It is one of 10 states — which include Colorado, New Jersey and Pennsylvania — […]