Author

Ariana Figueroa

Ariana Figueroa

Ariana Figueroa covers the nation's capital for States Newsroom.

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Drought conditions, climate crisis spur calls for more efficient water infrastructure

By: - October 6, 2021

WASHINGTON — Experts in government, agriculture, water management and the environment stressed during a U.S. Senate hearing on Wednesday the danger that droughts fueled by climate change pose in the West, including the Colorado River Basin. During a hearing before an Energy and Natural Resources Committee panel, witnesses said long-term solutions and an investment in […]

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FBI to investigate threats made against school board members, teachers

By: - October 5, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice has directed the FBI to meet with local governments and law enforcement to discuss strategies for dealing with increasing threats to teachers and school board members spurred by a conservative backlash against discussions of race in public schools. “Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our […]

How Biden’s social spending bill would provide free preschool

By: - October 4, 2021

WASHINGTON — If Pres. Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion social spending package survives ongoing negotiations in Congress, key provisions of the plan would provide low-cost care for children from birth to kindergarten—investments that would benefit single parents and low-income families. Under the full $3.5 trillion plan originally envisioned by the White House, Congress would allocate $450 […]

Congressional panel hears from educators about how to safely reopen schools

By: - September 30, 2021

WASHINGTON — Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara on Wednesday described how schools have coped with the pandemic and returned to in-person learning, as members of Congress examined best practices for safe reopening. Jara told a virtual panel of the House Education and Labor Committee that the funds the school district received from the […]

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Biden administration rolls out new rule to bolster DACA as lawsuit continues

By: - September 27, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Monday unveiled a proposed new rule that would strengthen the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to protect undocumented people in the program from legal challenges. The proposed rule, announced by the Department of Homeland Security, would “preserve and fortify” the DACA program, an Obama administration-era initiative that protects from deportation […]

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Parliamentarian blocks immigration reform from reconciliation; Democrats vow to try again

By: - September 20, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate parliamentarian has turned down a plan to include a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented people in the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, a blow for Democrats and immigration advocacy groups when the decision was disclosed late Sunday. According to an estimate prepared by the Center for American Progress and released […]

Revised voting rights bill rolled out in Senate, with Manchin on board

By: - September 14, 2021

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats on Tuesday unveiled a revamped voting rights bill that would expand voter registration as well as create nonpartisan redistricting committees, but the measure is still likely to face an uphill battle in an evenly divided Senate. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he will bring the legislation to the floor of […]

House panel includes universal pre-K, free community college in reconciliation

By: - September 13, 2021

WASHINGTON—The U.S. House Education & Labor Committee on Friday finished a marathon markup of legislation that would provide universal pre-K education, expand federal Pell Grants for college students and institute two years of free community college. The $761 billion measure, approved on a party-line 28-22 vote, will be combined with other pieces of Democrats’ giant […]

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House reconciliation package would provide path to citizenship

By: and - September 8, 2021

A provision tucked in the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package would direct Congress to chart a path for citizenship for millions of undocumented people. If passed, the House provision would provide a pathway to citizenship for those in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, often referred to as Dreamers; farmworkers; those who hold a Temporary […]

Voting by proxy becomes business as usual in the U.S. House

By: - August 23, 2021

WASHINGTON —Data from roll call votes shows that 171 U.S. House Democrats and 89 Republicans have voted by proxy at least once since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi  authorized the pandemic-era practice beginning last year. Pelosi has now announced the extension of proxy voting until Oct. 1 as the delta variant of the coronavirus continues to […]

DOJ civil rights official urges Congress to act soon on voting rights

By: - August 17, 2021

WASHINGTON—A top Justice Department official on Monday stressed the need for Congress to pass  legislation named after the late Georgia civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis in order to protect voting rights across the United States. Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Kristen Clarke told lawmakers that since a 2013 Supreme Court decision that struck […]

Biden extends freeze on student loan payments to Jan. 31

By: - August 6, 2021

WASHINGTON—The Biden administration announced Friday afternoon that it is extending the pause on federal student loan repayments until January of next year, as the delta variant of the coronavirus surges across the country.   “As our nation’s economy continues to recover from a deep hole, this final extension will give students and borrowers the time they […]