Daniel C. Vock
State redistricting stumbles across the nation amid familiar partisan infighting
By: Daniel C. Vock - October 21, 2021
WASHINGTON—This year’s round of redistricting is already crumbling into partisanship and court challenges in multiple states, even as voters pay more attention than ever to new political maps that will shape elections for a decade. Hopes were high initially. Advocates in several states pushed measures over the last few years that they hoped would lessen some of the acrimony in the struggle for political power every 10 years.
Democrats’ vision for free community college would boost undocumented students
By: Daniel C. Vock - October 5, 2021
Proposal would address failure of states like NC to help DACA kids WASHINGTON—The massive economic policy package Democrats are trying to muscle through Congress could open the door to free community college for undocumented immigrants. But that lifeline for many people now denied access to higher education could also reignite controversies in Republican-leaning states over […]
Political struggle over tax break for inherited farmland roils congressional budget reconciliation bill
By: Daniel C. Vock - September 20, 2021
WASHINGTON—Agricultural groups and farm-state lawmakers notched a significant win when U.S. House Democrats chose not to touch a big tax break for inherited property, avoiding for now a confrontation. But opponents remain wary that the idea could come back at any time as Democrats shape their massive $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, and search for ways to help pay for the most significant expansion of the social safety net since the New Deal.
Special report: Feds expand Pell Grant program for prisoners working on college degrees
By: Daniel C. Vock - August 27, 2021
WASHINGTON—Prison inmates around the U.S. are getting the chance to do something that was almost unheard of a generation ago: pursue a college degree while behind bars and with financial support from the federal government. Inmates in 42 states and Washington, D.C., can now get federal grants to work with colleges and universities to earn […]
Teachers come under pressure as politicians, parents battle over ‘critical race theory’
By: Daniel C. Vock - June 14, 2021
WASHINGTON—Teachers from Tennessee to Iowa are swept up in a wave of outrage led by GOP politicians nationwide over how schools teach kids about race in U.S. history. Conservatives have pilloried much instruction about systemic racism as “critical race theory,” even when that academic term has never been mentioned. A half dozen states have already […]
Attempts to ban teaching on ‘critical race theory’ multiply across the U.S.
By: Daniel C. Vock - May 24, 2021
From statehouses to Congress, Republicans have launched into a fight against the teaching of “critical race theory,” which just a year ago was a niche academic term. Experts in critical race theory say it’s about acknowledging how racial disparities are embedded in U.S history and society, and the concept is being mischaracterized by conservatives. But GOP lawmakers in the past few months have succeeded in pushing it to the top of state legislative agendas.
With ‘Amtrak Joe’ in the White House, states hope for a passenger rail renaissance
By: Daniel C. Vock - April 30, 2021
Stu Nicholson has been trying for decades without success to get Amtrak—or any other passenger rail service—to come to Columbus, Ohio. As director of All Aboard Ohio, a passenger rail advocacy group, Nicholson helped explore possibilities, like creating a new route from Chicago to Pittsburgh, with Columbus in the middle. But for now, Columbus, a […]
Biden’s big infrastructure package gets favorable initial review by U.S. Senate panel
By: Daniel C. Vock - February 25, 2021
National transition to electric vehicles endorsed by Democrats and Republicans, but differences emerge over who should control transportation dollars WASHINGTON—Senators who could decide the fate of President Joe Biden’s push for a major new infrastructure package seemed open to his priorities at a hearing Wednesday, particularly Biden’s emphasis on replacing vehicles that run on gas and diesel with ones that use electric power.
Billions of dollars for Medicaid expansion offered to NC, other holdout states
By: Daniel C. Vock - February 11, 2021
WASHINGTON—U.S. House Democrats are trying again to entice a dozen holdout states—many of them in the South—to expand Medicaid coverage with the prospect of billions of dollars in federal cash. The new offer, included in a massive $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that House Democrats are pushing through committees this week, could help provide health […]
Buttigieg puts greenhouse gas reduction at center of Biden transportation policy
By: Daniel C. Vock - January 25, 2021
Former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg offered an unapologetic defense of President Joe Biden’s vision for improved transportation and greenhouse gas reductions during a Senate hearing to consider Buttigieg’s nomination for U.S. transportation secretary last Thursday. “We need to build our economy back, better than ever, and the Department of Transportation can play a central […]
Buttigieg to inherit a crumbling network of roads, subways and rails at DOT
By: Daniel C. Vock - December 31, 2020
Pete Buttigieg as the incoming pick for U.S. transportation secretary would take office at a time when both state and local officials are deeply frustrated that not enough is being done to maintain and improve the country’s transportation networks. But nobody seems to be able to solve the problem. For example, two presidents have vowed […]
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos heads for the exits, leaving a legacy of turmoil
By: Daniel C. Vock - December 17, 2020
WASHINGTON—In four years in office, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos failed to broaden her appeal beyond the moment she won a wild Senate confirmation fight by the closest of margins. She didn’t even try. Instead, the billionaire Michigan native and Republican megadonor championed private and charter schools, often trying to funnel federal funding toward them. Her full-throated support outraged Democrats in Congress, riled the nation’s powerful teachers unions and never registered as a major priority for the Trump administration.