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Vann R. Newkirk II

Vann R. Newkirk II is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he covers politics and policy.
Results 31-38 of 38

Puerto Rico’s Dream, Denied

June 14, 2016 Status questions are now settled for Puerto Rico and other United States territories. They will remain congressional dependencies with little to no self-determination—colonies, in effect—until Congress says otherwise, allowing them to become states or become independent. This week, the Supreme Court decided a case involving Puerto Rico’s debt structure and...

Puerto Rico Belongs to Congress

June 10, 2016 Thursday was a big day for Puerto Rico’s 3.5 million citizens. First, a ruling from the Supreme Court established that defendants cannot be tried for the same crime in both federal and Puerto Rican courts. Later, a landslide vote in the House of Representatives in favor of Puerto Rican debt...

Congress' Latest Puerto Rico Bill Just Might Prevent Economic Collapse

May 20, 2016 Late Wednesday evening, the House Committee on Natural Resources introduced a revision of the PROMESA Act (Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act), the latest version of a bill designed to help give Puerto Rico the tools to address its economic crisis and looming humanitarian disaster. The bill will...

Is Puerto Rico a Humanitarian Disaster Waiting to Happen?

May 13, 2016 SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico––Elizabeth Claudio pointed to the lone outlet in the wall of her classroom of fourth graders. She complained to Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro García Padilla that it was the class’s only outlet and that running multiple devices––such as a television, air conditioner, or a fan––would trip the...

Why Zika Needs An Ounce of Prevention

April 29, 2016 In all likelihood, Congress was never all that close to finding a way to push past factional politics and fund efforts to fight Zika. Lawmakers have adjourned for recess after a failure to find common ground on the issue, and as my colleague Nora Kelly notes, the divide comes mostly...

Virginia Governor Ends State's History of Disenfranchisement

April 27, 2016 Over a century ago, Virginia first enshrined felon disenfranchisement in its constitution. A Jim Crow-era provision stated that all people who had been convicted of felonies were barred from voting without first receiving formal restoration of their rights from the state’s governor. Its rationale was explicitly racist. The policy resulted...

Puerto Rico Set to Default on Debts Again

April 27, 2016 On Sunday, Puerto Rico will likely default again on some of its debts, which now total over $70 billion. The island will struggle to provide vital public services like water and electricity if it can provide them regularly at all. Its economy has not grown in over a decade, and...

What it Will Take to Defeat the Opioid Addiction Epidemic

April 4, 2016 “It must be total war in every city, town, and village throughout the land,” President Harry Truman exhorted. “For only with a united front can we ever hope to win any war.” With this call to arms, in a 1946 speech just months after the end of World War II,...