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.

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 […]

U.S. Senate imposes limits on aid for state, local governments in COVID relief bill

By: - March 5, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate voted Thursday to begin debate on President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill, after drafting a number of revisions that, among other changes, tweak the aid intended for state and local governments. The legislation approved in the House outlines $350 billion in direct aid to state, local governments, territories and […]

Senate panel advances Deb Haaland’s historic nomination to lead Interior Department

By: - March 5, 2021

WASHINGTON — Deb Haaland has moved a step closer to becoming the first Native American to serve as a federal Cabinet secretary, with a Senate committee on Thursday advancing her nomination to lead the Department of the Interior. The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources voted 11-9 to send her nomination to a vote by the […]

GOP opposition to state and local aid remains as Senate heads toward vote on COVID bill

By: - March 4, 2021

WASHINGTON — As Democrats seek to send President Joe Biden their latest $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill, federal lawmakers remain deeply divided on the question of whether state and local governments need another infusion of federal aid. Supporters of the bill — including numerous Republican mayors — say the answer is a clear “yes.” They argue that a […]

Biden urges states to speed up COVID-19 vaccinations for teachers

By: - March 3, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is urging states to prioritize teachers for COVID-19 vaccines, setting a goal of ensuring that every pre-kindergarten through 12th grade educator, school staff member and childcare worker is able to receive at least one shot this month. At least 34 states and the District of Columbia have some or all […]

Game-changing one-dose vaccine could be in states’ hands shortly

By: - February 25, 2021

WASHINGTON — States struggling to provide enough COVID-19 vaccines are likely just a few days away from a pivotal development in the vaccination race: the availability of a shot that requires only one dose. The game-changing Johnson & Johnson vaccine would differ from the two current shots by Pfizer and Moderna in several critical ways. […]

Big uptick in vaccine supplies for states expected soon

By: - February 24, 2021

WASHINGTON — Executives from five COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers told Congress Tuesday that they expect to significantly boost the number of shots delivered to states in the coming weeks. Pfizer will increase weekly shipments to more than 13 million doses by mid-March, an increase from the 4 to 5 million doses shipped weekly in early February, […]

Feds ship out COVID-19 vaccines delayed by winter storms

By: - February 23, 2021

WASHINGTON — White House officials said Monday that thawing temperatures and a weekend of around-the-clock work has begun to clear a backlog of 6 million COVID-19 vaccines that were delayed due to last week’s devastating winter storms. On Monday, 7 million doses were set for delivery across the country, a figure that includes both delayed […]

Added COVID-19 testing on the way with $1.6 billion in federal money

By: - February 18, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is directing $1.6 billion to bolster COVID-19 testing nationally, including money to expand testing in schools and homeless shelters, boost supplies needed for testing and analyze results to more quickly identify new strains of the virus. Roughly $650 million of the sum would go toward creating regional coordinating centers, which […]

Feds boost state vaccine shipments to 11 million doses next week

By: - February 9, 2021

WASHINGTON — States will see another increase in the COVID-19 vaccine doses they receive, with President Joe Biden’s administration announcing Tuesday that the federal government will distribute 11 million doses next week. That’s an increase from 10.5 million doses this week, and 8.6 million during the week President Joe Biden took office last month. Those […]

Dems protest Georgia congresswoman’s selection to education panel after she cast doubt on school shootings

By: - January 29, 2021

WASHINGTON — House Democrats are denouncing GOP leaders for tapping Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene to serve on the Education and Labor Committee, amid a growing outcry over the Georgia Republican’s past comments challenging the veracity of deadly school shootings. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called it “appalling” that Republicans selected someone who “has mocked the killing […]

Kaine floats censure alternative as Senate prepares for second Trump impeachment trial

By: - January 28, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine says he’s been talking privately with his Senate colleagues about censuring former President Donald Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. Kaine, a Virginia Democrat, told Capitol Hill reporters on Wednesday that he views censure as a possible “alternative” to Trump’s upcoming impeachment trial […]