Author

Jennifer Shutt

Jennifer Shutt

Jennifer covers the nation’s capital as a senior reporter for States Newsroom. Her coverage areas include congressional policy, politics and legal challenges with a focus on health care, unemployment, housing and aid to families.

People attend a bill signing ceremony for the Respect for Marriage Act on the South Lawn of the White House Dec. 13, 2022, in Washington, D.C. The Respect for Marriage Act will codify same-sex and interracial marriages. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Biden signs law extending marriage protections to same-sex and interracial couples

By: - December 13, 2022

WASHINGTON — Same-sex and interracial couples had many of their marriage rights codified Tuesday when President Joe Biden signed the bipartisan marriage equality bill during a ceremony attended by thousands outside the White House.  In a brief speech, Biden told supporters on the South Lawn that “marriage is a simple proposition — who do you […]

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Sinema (D-AZ) heads to a meeting in the U.S. Capitol building on June 8, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona leaves Democratic Party, registers as independent

By: and - December 9, 2022

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona announced Friday she is leaving the Democratic Party and has registered as an independent. The first-term senator wrote in an opinion piece for the Arizona Republic that she does not intend to change the way she legislates or casts votes, but plans to be “an independent voice […]

U.S. Senate Democratic leaders for the 118th Congress gather for a photo in the Ohio Clock Corridor of the U.S. Capitol following elections on Dec. 8, 2022. From left, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz. (Photo by Jennifer Shutt/States Newsroom)

Michigan’s Stabenow, Minnesota’s Klobuchar rise in U.S. Senate Democratic leadership

By: - December 9, 2022

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate Democrats on Thursday elected their leadership for their new 51-seat majority in the upcoming 118th Congress, elevating two Midwesterners — Michigan’s Debbie Stabenow to the No. 3 slot and Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar to the No. 4 role.  Stabenow, chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, and Klobuchar, chair of the […]

A couple poses for a photo near the Supreme Court in April 2015 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Marriage equality bill heads to Biden’s desk following bipartisan U.S. House vote

By: - December 8, 2022

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House overwhelmingly approved a marriage equality bill Thursday that would ensure same-sex and interracial couples continue holding many of the rights they have now, should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn the cases that established those constitutional protections.   The measure now heads to the desk of President Joe Biden, who plans to […]

A U.S. Marine prepares to receive the Moderna coronavirus vaccine at Camp Hansen on April 28, 2021 in Kin, Japan. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

Congress on track to scrap Pentagon’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate in defense bill

By: - December 7, 2022

WASHINGTON — Members of the U.S. military would no longer be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine under a proposal Congress could pass as soon as this week.  The provision eliminating the vaccine mandate is tucked into the massive National Defense Authorization Act, the annual defense policy bill that Congress has passed each year for […]

President Joe Biden addresses the crowd as a candidate during a South Carolina campaign launch party on Feb. 11, 2020, in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Democrats strip Iowa of first-in-the-nation prize, tap South Carolina for first primary

By: - December 2, 2022

WASHINGTON — Voters in South Carolina would go first in picking Democratic presidential nominees, followed by Nevada, New Hampshire, Georgia and Michigan if their states go along with a proposal a key Democratic National Committee panel approved Friday.  The Rules and Bylaws Committee’s nearly unanimous voice vote proposes moving the Democratic primary’s earliest election date […]

A record-setting number of women will serve in state legislatures in 2023

By: - December 1, 2022

WASHINGTON — A record number of women will soon serve in state legislatures, breaking the previous cap of female lawmakers by at least 69 seats and bringing total representation to more than 32%, according to the Center for American Women and Politics. States will have at least 2,376 female lawmakers in 2023, including both women […]

A member of the Alaska Organized Militia clears storm debris in Golovin on Sept. 26. Members of the Alaska Organized Militia, which includes members of the Alaska National Guard, Alaska State Defense Force and Alaska Naval Militia, were activated to help communities hit by Typhoon Merbok. The typhoon flooded villages and communities across 1,000 miles of Bering Sea coastline. (Photo provided by the Alaska National Guard)

More than $37 billion in disaster aid under scrutiny in congressional lame duck

By: - November 29, 2022

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration wants Congress to approve more than $37 billion to help communities throughout the country recover from various natural disasters, including Hurricanes Ian, which battered Florida and the Southeast U.S. in late September, and Fiona, which hit Puerto Rico.  The supplemental funding request comes on top of a $9 billion COVID-19 […]

Brielle Robinson, daughter of the late Army Sgt. First Class Heath Robinson, joins veterans advocacy groups, activists, politicians and fellow victims' families during a news conference about military burn pits legislation outside the U.S. Capitol on March 29, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Thousands of veterans deluge VA with claims for toxic exposure benefits, health care

By: - November 25, 2022

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is processing claims at the fastest rate in its history, hoping to avoid a significant backlog as hundreds of thousands of veterans apply for health care and benefits under the landmark toxic exposure law Congress passed earlier this year.  The day after President Joe Biden signed the […]

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) arrives to deliver remarks from the House Chambers of the U.S. Capitol Building on Nov. 17, 2022, in Washington, D.C. Pelosi spoke on the future of her leadership plans in the House of Representatives and said she will not seek a leadership role in the upcoming Congress. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Nancy Pelosi, first woman to serve as speaker of the U.S. House, steps down from leadership

By: - November 17, 2022

WASHINGTON — U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who became the first woman in history to hold the gavel, shepherding landmark bills across four presidencies, announced Thursday she’ll step aside from leadership though she’ll remain in Congress. “With great confidence in our caucus, I will not seek reelection to Democratic leadership in the next Congress,” she […]

A view of a destroyed building on Nov. 14, 2022, in Borodyanka, Ukraine. In recent days, Russia has retreated from the Ukrainian city of Kherson, allowing Ukraine to reclaim swaths of nearby territory occupied since shortly after the Russian invasion on Feb. 24, 2022. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

White House asks Congress for billions in Ukraine, COVID-19 funding during lame duck

By: - November 15, 2022

WASHINGTON —  The Biden administration on Tuesday asked Congress for billions more in funding this year to address COVID-19 and the ongoing war in Ukraine, suggesting lawmakers attach it to a spending bill that must pass before Dec. 16.  The $9 billion request for COVID-19 operations and nearly $38 billion in additional relief for Ukraine […]

The U.S. Capitol is seen on Sept. 14, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Andrew Kitchenman/Alaska Beacon)

Congress heads back to D.C. for a hectic lame-duck session

By: - November 11, 2022

WASHINGTON — Congress returns to Capitol Hill and a lengthy to-do list next week, following a six-week midterm elections break that saw Democrats outperform expectations and Republicans barely inch toward the U.S. House majority. On the agenda are same-sex marriage legislation, a huge defense bill, changes in how presidential electoral votes are counted and more. […]