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 Arizona Mirror. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections, and campaign finance.

At-home COVID tests to be covered by insurance—but details still to come

By: - December 2, 2021

WASHINGTON — State health officials on Thursday welcomed the Biden administration’s plan to require private health insurers to reimburse Americans for the cost of rapid, at-home COVID-19 tests — though the officials also raised questions about whether the process will be burdensome. Making those tests more accessible will allow Americans to get results quickly and […]

Biden to unveil plan to blunt potential COVID surge this winter

By: - December 2, 2021

WASHINGTON — Reimbursements for at-home rapid COVID-19 tests. Tougher testing requirements for international travelers. More emergency response teams to aid states combating infection spikes.  And another big push to get Americans vaccinated. Those are the latest steps to fight COVID-19 that President Joe Biden will be announcing Thursday, according to senior administration officials who briefed reporters […]

Roe v. Wade abortion SCOTUS protests

U.S. Supreme Court considers new limits on abortions in Mississippi case

By: and - December 1, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is weighing potentially sweeping changes to the right to an abortion, after two hours of arguments Wednesday morning on a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The court’s conservatives, who hold a 6-3 majority, appeared through their questions to be sympathetic to Mississippi’s arguments that its […]

Democrats risk losses in 2022 if they give up on paid leave, advocates say

By: - November 30, 2021

WASHINGTON — When paid family leave was briefly dropped from congressional Democrats’ massive social spending and climate bill earlier this fall, the outcry was swift. Women and caregivers suddenly were calling lawmakers and advocates, and they were sharing their own stories on social media in huge numbers, said Dawn Huckelbridge, director of Paid Leave for […]

Federal vaccine mandate for health care workers in 10 states blocked by judge

By: - November 29, 2021

WASHINGTON — Enforcement of the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for millions of health care workers was blocked in 10 states on Monday, after a ruling by a federal judge in Missouri. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Matthew Schelp affects the states involved in the lawsuit, which include Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, and New Hampshire. The […]

New COVID-19 omicron variant ‘not a cause for panic,’ Biden says

By: - November 29, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden sought to reassure Americans on Monday about the latest COVID-19 variant, describing it as “a cause for concern, not a cause for panic.” Biden did not announce any new travel restrictions or other federal actions during his brief remarks from the White House.  Instead, he urged Americans to get a booster […]

How paid leave, a tax cut for the rich and more could get axed from Biden’s social policy bill

By: and - November 23, 2021

WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats cheered on the floor of the U.S. House after approving President Joe Biden’s massive social spending and climate bill. But a major struggle lies ahead in the coming month in the U.S. Senate, where Democrats cannot lose any votes within their party if they are to send the so-called Build Back Better measure […]

Federal health officials open up access to COVID-19 booster shots to all U.S. adults

By: - November 19, 2021

WASHINGTON — Federal health officials on Friday moved to expand access to COVID-19 booster shots to all American adults, in an effort to bolster protection against infections as case counts rise again across the United States. Officials with the Food and Drug Administration on Friday morning authorized booster shots for anyone over age 18 who […]

Joe Biden Build Back Better

House Democrats pass Biden’s $1.85 trillion ‘Build Back Better’ plan

By: , and - November 19, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. House Democrats united around a landmark $1.85 trillion social spending and climate bill on Friday, sending the major plank of President Joe Biden’s economic agenda to the Senate.  Democratic leaders in the House heralded the 220-213 near party-line vote on the so-called Build Back Better bill, touting its provisions on child care, education, […]

Biden signs $1.2T infrastructure bill: ‘America is moving again’

By: , and - November 15, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Monday signed into law his $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill during a ceremony at the White House packed with some 800 supporters, heralding what he said was a “truly consequential” spending bill that will improve Americans’ day-to-day lives. But Democrats also emphasized that there is more to come — a […]

evictions

States, cities face deadline for proving how quickly they’ve helped renters in crisis

By: - November 12, 2021

WASHINGTON — States, cities and counties that excelled at distributing emergency federal aid to renters struggling during the pandemic may soon be rewarded—with yet more cash. Their new funding would be drawn from sluggish states and localities that didn’t move as swiftly to help people facing eviction and homelessness, who were targeted for billions in assistance […]

Federal vaccine rule for private businesses to kick in on Jan. 4

By: - November 4, 2021

WASHINGTON — Many private employers beginning in January will have to ensure their workers either are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or that they will undergo weekly testing and wear a face covering, under a new federal rule announced Thursday by the White House. The policy from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is set to […]