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 Tennessee Lookout. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections, and campaign finance.

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)

Congress clears giant $1.9T emergency relief package for Biden’s signature

By: - March 10, 2021

WASHINGTON — A sweeping $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package is headed to President Joe Biden’s desk after the U.S. House passed the latest pandemic relief measure Wednesday on a party-line vote. The massive bill includes a new round of $1,400 direct checks for many Americans, as well as an extension of expanded unemployment checks to assist […]

The Tennessee State Capitol, where legislators created the state's restrictive abortion laws. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Census delay in releasing population data throws states into chaos

By: - February 15, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Census Bureau won’t be releasing population data needed to redraw state legislative and congressional district boundaries until Sept. 30 — six months after that data is typically made available. The latest pandemic-spurred delay, announced by bureau officials on Friday, hugely scrambles the once-a-decade redistricting process for states with deadlines looming this […]

UPS employees move one of two shipping containers containing the first shipments of the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine inside a sorting facility December 13, 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky. The flight originated in Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Michael Clevenger - Pool/Getty Images)

Biden expected to distribute all available vaccine doses to states

By: - January 11, 2021

WASHINGTON — More COVID-19 vaccine doses will be available to states sooner under changes that the incoming Biden administration is expected to make to how the Trump administration has been allocating those shots. That’s according to comments a Biden transition spokesman made to CNN on Friday, indicating that President-elect Joe Biden will shift to “releasing available […]

U.S. Capitol police officers point their guns at a door that was vandalized in the House Chamber during a joint session of Congress on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

U.S. Capitol on lockdown after pro-Trump rioters storm inside

By: and - January 6, 2021

WASHINGTON — A mob derailed the typically routine process of Congress certifying the presidential election results on Wednesday, with both chambers abruptly recessing after President Donald Trump’s supporters clashed with police and forced their way into the U.S. Capitol. A House office building was evacuated, and the Capitol and surrounding office buildings were locked down […]

(Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Newly elected members of the U.S. House converge on Washington

By: - November 17, 2020

WASHINGTON — They’ve won their campaigns. Now, newly elected members of the U.S. House of Representatives are spending their first days in the nation’s capital, learning how to perform their new jobs. The orientation session for those incoming House freshmen began on Thursday, covering their office budgets, how to hire staffers and the ethical guidelines […]

Joe Biden is declared next president by Associated Press

By: - November 7, 2020

WASHINGTON — Democrat Joe Biden’s native state of Pennsylvania on Saturday secured his victory to become the next president of the United States when The Associated Press reported he had gained enough votes there to win the electoral college. The AP called Pennsylvania for Biden at 11:25 a.m., which gave the former vice president 284 […]

Right-wing protesters gather outside the Maricopa County Elections Department on Nov. 4, 2020, demanding that all ballots for President Donald Trump be counted. Inside the building, election workers were busy counting hundreds of thousands of ballots. (Jerod MacDonald-Evoy/Arizona Mirror)

Battleground states count mail ballots, with Biden just shy of votes to clinch presidency

By: - November 5, 2020

WASHINGTON — Two days after Election Day, the nation waited for vote-counting to finish in several critical states, where the tallying of mail ballots has left Democrat Joe Biden just short of the votes needed to become the next president. Thursday’s updated totals could push Biden beyond the 270 electoral votes needed to secure victory […]

Marquita Bradshaw in Memphis on September 9, 2020. She is the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in what she calls a "Marquita versus Goliath" race against the Trump-endorsed Republican candidate, Bill Hagerty. The Memphis activist is also the only Black woman running for Senate in the entire country this cycle. (Photo: © Karen Pulfer Focht)

Struggle for control of the U.S. Senate enters its final tense hours

By: and - October 30, 2020

WASHINGTON — Democrats have a shot at winning the White House,  capturing the Senate majority and keeping their hold on the House—an election result that could dramatically shift the policy agenda away from the gridlock that’s gripped the nation’s capital for years. In the Senate, the clearest route to that outcome is through flipping GOP-held […]

Marsha Blackburn waves her finger.

Just another working mom: Blackburn leads the fan club for Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination

By: - October 14, 2020

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, one of two Republican women on the Senate Judiciary Committee, used her time at the end of Tuesday’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing to blast liberal critics for what she described as unfair treatment of female conservative nominees like Amy Coney Barrett. Blackburn, who has been a staunch defender of […]

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 05: Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) holds a mask to her face as she arrives for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "Oversight of the Crossfire Hurricane Investigation" on Capitol Hill on August 5, 2020 in Washington, DC. Crossfire Hurricane was an FBI counterintelligence investigation relating to contacts between Russian officials and associates of Donald Trump. (Photo by Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images)

Supreme Court confirmation hearings plowing ahead amid COVID-19 infections

By: - October 12, 2020

Federal Judge Amy Coney Barrett will face the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee beginning Monday for what’s expected to be an unusual and contentious four days of hearings on her nomination for the Supreme Court. Democrats sought unsuccessfully to block those hearings, raising concerns about the short time frame before Election Day, the urgent need to […]

U.S. President Donald Trump flouts the Hatch Act and delivers his acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination on the South Lawn of the White House Aug. 27, 2020. Trump gave the speech in front of 1500 invited guests. Photo by Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

Trump returns to the White House, still infected with coronavirus

By: - October 5, 2020

WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump on Monday night departed Walter Reed National Military Hospital, where he had been treated for COVID-19, and arrived at the White House via the Marine One helicopter a short time later. According to the press pool, Trump emerged from Walter Reed and briefly stopped at the top of the hospital steps before […]