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.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-AZ (Photo by Al Drago-Pool/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 […]

Protesters in front of U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexanders offices on West End in 2017. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Talks over protecting Dreamers pick up in Congress, but agreement still elusive

By: - December 7, 2022

WASHINGTON — In a last-minute push, U.S. senators are working on a bipartisan agreement to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people who were brought to the United States as children. But the success of any major immigration deal appears unlikely, as a lame-duck session of Congress dwindles into its last days. Democrats are […]

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 25: Student loan borrowers stage a rally in front of The White House to celebrate President Biden cancelling student debt and to begin the fight to cancel any remaining debt on August 25, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for We the 45m)

U.S. Supreme Court to review Biden student debt relief plan in February

By: - December 3, 2022

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court said Thursday it will hear oral arguments in February over a legal challenge by six Republican-led states to the Biden administration student borrower relief plan. Until the arguments are heard and the court issues a ruling, the $400 billion Biden plan is on hold due to a nationwide injunction […]

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Democratic Sen. Pat Leahy of Vermont at the U.S. Capitol going into lunch with Senate Democrats prior to a vote on an agreement to end a looming rail strike on Dec. 1, 2022. (Ariana Figueroa/States Newsroom)

U.S. Senate averts freight rail strike, but bid to include worker sick leave fails

By: - December 1, 2022

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted to codify an agreement the White House brokered between rail unions and freight companies in order to avoid a catastrophic rail strike, but fell short of enough votes to include paid sick leave for workers. The Senate backed the rail deal on an 80-15 vote and rejected […]

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 29: Activists in support of unionized rail workers protest outside the U.S. Capitol Building on November 29, 2022 in Washington, DC. President Joe Biden has called on Congress to pass legislation averting a railroad shutdown ahead of the December 9 coordinated strike date. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

U.S. House to intervene in rail workers strike, heeding Biden call

By: - November 29, 2022

WASHINGTON — U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday said the House will take up legislation to ratify an agreement between rail workers and operators in order to avert a nationwide rail strike. “This week, the House will take up a bill adopting the Tentative Agreement — with no poison pills or changes to the […]

Activists call on President Biden to not resume student loan payments in February 2022 and to cancel student debt near The White House on December 15, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for We, The 45 Million)

Student loan repayment pause extended by White House amid legal battles over relief plan

By: - November 23, 2022

WASHINGTON — The Department of Education announced on Tuesday it is extending the pandemic-era pause on federal student loan repayments until June 30 while legal challenges to the administration’s student debt relief program are fought over in the courts. The agency said if the student debt relief program has not been put in place by […]

Activists call on President Biden to not resume student loan payments in February 2022 and to cancel student debt near The White House on December 15, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for We, The 45 Million)

Six GOP-led states win national injunction against Biden student debt relief plan

By: - November 15, 2022

WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court on Monday issued a nationwide injunction indefinitely blocking the Biden administration’s student debt relief program in response to a challenge by six GOP-led states. The unanimous ruling by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis came after the six states — Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas and […]

University of Memphis students photographed in 2021 by Karen Pulfer Focht.

Biden student debt relief plan thrown out by Texas judge; new applications halted

By: - November 11, 2022

WASHINGTON — Late Thursday a federal judge in Texas struck down the Biden administration’s student debt relief plan, ruling that the program is unlawful, in a blow to 16 million student debt borrowers already approved for relief. The U.S. Department of Education now is no longer accepting applications for the program, according to the student […]

(Photo: Jon Dragonette for TIRRC Votes)

Young Black and Latino voters seen as key in turning back midterm ‘red wave’

By: - November 11, 2022

WASHINGTON — Young Black and Latino voters were critical in holding off the Republican “red wave” in several battleground states for U.S. Senate seats and in tight U.S. House races in the midterm elections, according to analyses by researchers and grassroot organizations.  Young, diverse voters between the ages of 18 and 29 had the second-highest […]

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 18: The U.S Capitol Building is prepared for the inaugural ceremonies for President-elect Joe Biden as American flags are placed in the ground on the National Mall on January 18, 2021 in Washington, DC. The approximately 191,500 U.S. flags will cover part of the National Mall and will represent the American people who are unable to travel to Washington, DC for the inauguration. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

U.S. Senate control too close to call as multiple states grapple with tight vote counts

By: , and - November 9, 2022

WASHINGTON —  Control of the U.S. Senate remained unclear early Wednesday as races in a handful of swing states in the midterm elections were still too close to call, and it appeared it might be days — or even weeks — before a final result was known. But Democrats flipped the open Pennsylvania Senate seat, […]

No GOP ‘wave,’ but Republicans could still gain control of U.S. House

By: , and - November 9, 2022

WASHINGTON — Republicans fell short of their greatest ambitions for major gains in the U.S. House, with control of the chamber still in doubt early Wednesday.  Republicans are still likely to narrowly win control of the U.S. House, based on expert projections. But of 20 races rated by elections forecaster Inside Elections as true toss-ups, […]

Tennessee Democratic candidates, from left, Dr. Jason Martin, Randal Cooper and Odessa Kelly at a Wednesday press conference addressing voting issues in Nashville in which voters were given incorrect ballots. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Misinformation about voting crops up around the U.S. as midterm elections near

By: - November 3, 2022

In Colorado, an error in early October involving voter registration postcards that were mailed to non-citizens in the state morphed into a conspiracy theory about voter fraud. In Iowa, voters in late September received phone calls spreading misinformation about how they could vote, with Iowans falsely told they could cast their ballots over the phone, […]