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.

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the one-year anniversary of the January 6th insurrection in Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)

Biden to pardon all federal offenses for simple marijuana possession, review criminalization

By: , and - October 6, 2022

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Thursday announced executive actions that would pardon thousands of people with prior federal offenses of simple marijuana possession. Biden then called on governors to follow suit with state offenses for simple marijuana possession, saying that “just as no one should be in a Federal prison solely due to the […]

President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) Janai Nelson (center) speaks to members of the press after the oral arguments of the Merrill v. Milligan case at the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 4, 2022, in Washington, D.C. The case is over whether the new congressional map of Alabama violates the Voting Rights Act. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Alabama case that could limit Voting Rights Act heard at U.S. Supreme Court

By: - October 4, 2022

WASHINGTON – U.S. Supreme Court justices on Tuesday heard oral arguments in a case that challenges an Alabama redistricting map and could potentially eliminate remaining federal safeguards against racial gerrymandering. Voting rights advocates fear that the high court’s conservative majority will further weaken the Voting Rights Act, with implications for voters in states across the […]

Chairman Richard Durbin, (D-IL), attends a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to examine Texas's abortion law on Capitol Hill on September 29, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images)

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

By: - September 29, 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 […]

Rev. Dr. William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People's Campaign, speaks at a briefing on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Sept. 22. (Photo by Ariana Figueroa/States Newsroom)

Faith leaders urge minimum wage hike, expanded child tax credit as Congress nears recess

By: - September 22, 2022

WASHINGTON — Faith leaders pressed Congress to pass voting rights legislation, a $15 minimum wage and a permanent expansion of the child tax credit during a Thursday briefing on Capitol Hill. “Poverty is a policy choice,” Rev. Dr. William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, said to lawmakers. Barber, who is the pastor of […]

The U.S. Capitol is lit on Sept. 13, 2022. (Photo by Andrew Kitchenman/Alaskan Beacon)

U.S. House passes bill reforming Electoral Count Act to stop Jan. 6 repeat

By: - September 21, 2022

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House passed on Wednesday a bill updating a 19th-century law in an attempt to prevent the subversion of future presidential elections. The Presidential Election Reform Act, which passed 229-203, is meant to deter a repeat of the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, in which the U.S. Capitol was attacked by a […]

An empty jail cell in a traditional prison is seen in this photo. (Photo by Andy Sacks/Getty Images)

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 Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by Georgia Sen. Jon Ossoff, found that DOJ […]

(Photo by Richard Ross/Getty Images)

Congressional panel debates federal role in preventing youth incarceration

By: - September 8, 2022

WASHINGTON — Members of a U.S. House Education and Labor Committee panel on Thursday questioned experts and leaders of youth rehabilitation programs about how the federal government could invest in programs to prevent kids from becoming incarcerated. “Although the juvenile justice system is intended to rehabilitate—not punish—young offenders, data shows that the more a young […]

U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks at a breakfast with news reporters in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 7, 2022. (C-SPAN screenshot)

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 […]

Lalain Reyeg administers a COVID-19 booster vaccine and an influenza vaccine to Army veteran Gary Nasakaitis at the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital on September 24, 2021, in Hines, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

CDC endorses updated COVID-19 vaccine boosters for this fall

By: - September 2, 2022

WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention late Thursday signed off on the approval from the agency’s independent vaccine advisers that recommended an updated coronavirus vaccine booster this fall. The CDC recommended boosters from Pfizer-BioNTech for those who are 12 years old and older and from Moderna for those who are 18 and […]

Most Republican candidates for statewide and federal office skipped The Des Moines Register Political Soapbox at this year's Iowa State Fair. (Photo by Jared Strong/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Candidates, mostly Republican, skip debates, bar press during midterm campaigns across U.S.

By: - September 1, 2022

WASHINGTON — With two months left of the 2022 campaign season, a majority of Republican candidates are continuing to skirt away from not only talking to local and national media outlets about their policy issues, but their own constituents, leaving voters with little information on their policy positions. “If we are to hold our elected […]

U.S. President Joe Biden gestures as he gives remarks on providing additional support to Ukraine’s war efforts against Russia from the Roosevelt Room of the White House on April 28, 2022, in Washington, D.C.(Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

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 […]

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) gives the thumbs up as he leaves the Senate Chamber after passage of the Inflation Reduction Act at the U.S. Capitol August 7, 2022, in Washington, D.C. The Senate worked overnight Saturday into Sunday as they moved toward final passage of Senate budget reconciliation deal, which Senate Democrats have named The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. The final vote was 51-50, with the tie-breaking vote being cast by Vice President Kamala Harris. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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

By: and - August 8, 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 […]