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 Virginia Mercury. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections, and campaign finance.

Feds: Florida, Missouri, Texas account for 40 percent of all COVID-19 cases this week

By: - July 23, 2021

WASHINGTON — Amid a rise in infections and hospitalizations from the surging delta variant of COVID-19, the Biden administration is boosting money and other assistance to the hardest-hit areas of the country. This week, just three states with lower vaccination rates — Florida, Texas and Missouri — accounted for 40 percent of all cases nationwide.  […]

U.S. Senate Republicans block advance of bipartisan infrastructure plan, but talks continue

By: - July 22, 2021

WASHINGTON —  Senate Democrats’ attempt to start debate on a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan was blocked by Republicans on a party-line vote Wednesday, as lawmakers hustle to wrap up negotiations over drafting that legislation. In the 49-51 test vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, (D-N.Y.), switched his vote to “no,” a procedural move that […]

Chuck Schumer: Congress should legalize weed on the federal level

By: - July 15, 2021

WASHINGTON — The top Democrat in the U.S. Senate says decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level is a change that’s “long overdue,” and that he’s prioritizing that effort amid a growing number of states legalizing cannabis. To that end, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday unveiled a draft proposal for removing cannabis from the federal […]

How the new, expanded federal child tax credit will work

By: - July 13, 2021

WASHINGTON — The most ambitious part of the pandemic stimulus package signed by President Joe Biden earlier this year is about to hit the bank accounts of millions of U.S. parents. Starting this week and ending in December, the vast majority of U.S. households with children will begin receiving monthly payments as a result of changes […]

Supreme Court hands victory to transgender rights by declining to hear Virginia school bathroom case

By: - June 28, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday that it will not hear a case of a transgender student in Virginia who was barred from using the boys’ bathroom, a decision that affirms lower-court rulings that said treating transgender students differently violates federal law. Justices on the top court offered no comment in declining to take […]

Biden and bipartisan senators clinch a deal on $1.2T infrastructure plan

By: - June 24, 2021

WASHINGTON — The White House and a bipartisan group of U.S. senators said Thursday they’ve struck a deal on the outlines of a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, marking a breakthrough on federal dollars for road and bridge projects after weeks of negotiations—but with significant hurdles still ahead. President Joe Biden stood with the 10 senators […]

Biden administration extends federal eviction moratorium for one final month

By: - June 24, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Thursday extended a national moratorium on evictions for another month, offering what federal officials say will be a final respite while they scramble to beef up other help for renters that could mitigate a wave of evictions once the legal protection does expire. The added month of eviction relief comes […]

Bob Good joins Marjorie Taylor Greene in demanding Fauci’s salary be stripped

By: - June 16, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia on Tuesday led a group of House Republicans, including Virginia’s Bob Good, in calling for the firing of Dr. Anthony Fauci, formalizing their intense criticism of his public statements and actions throughout the coronavirus pandemic into legislation. Those GOP lawmakers can’t actually oust Fauci from his […]

Troubled Maryland plant told to toss part of the J&J vaccine ingredient it manufactured

By: - June 11, 2021

WASHINGTON — Federal health regulators have instructed Maryland’s Emergent BioSolutions to scrap some batches of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine substance manufactured at the company’s troubled Baltimore plant, while clearing a small portion to be used in the U.S. or sent abroad. Two batches of the J&J vaccine substance made in Baltimore were deemed “suitable […]

U.S. Senate panel grapples with fast-approaching state laws on rights of student athletes

By: - June 11, 2021

WASHINGTON — There was little disagreement among senators Wednesday over whether a national law is needed to standardize what soon will be a patchwork of conflicting state statutes allowing some student athletes to earn money from their personal brands. But the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing shed little light on what a potential federal law […]

‘Get a shot and have a beer’: Biden touts free brew, pro sports tickets and child care to boost vaccines

By: - June 2, 2021

WASHINGTON — Free child care during COVID-19 vaccine appointments. Late-night appointment slots on Fridays. And free beer for everybody over 21 if President Joe Biden’s vaccination goal is reached next month. These are some of the latest incentives and strategies lined up by the Biden administration to boost national vaccinations against COVID-19 leading up to the […]

U.S. Senate GOP filibuster blocks commission to probe U.S. Capitol attack

By: - May 28, 2021

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans on Friday blocked consideration of a bill creating a bipartisan, independent commission to investigate what happened leading up to and during the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol. Legislation to form an investigatory panel into that attack passed the House of Representatives earlier this month, with 35 House Republicans joining Democrats in […]