Danielle Kurtzleben

Danielle Kurtzleben is a political reporter assigned to NPR's Washington Desk. She appears on NPR shows, writes for the web, and is a regular on the NPR Politics Podcast. She is covering the 2020 presidential election, with particular focuses on on economic policy and gender politics.

Before joining NPR in 2015, Kurtzleben spent a year as a correspondent for Vox.com. As part of the site's original reporting team, she covered economics and business news.

Prior to Vox.com, Kurtzleben was with U.S. News & World Report for nearly four years, where she covered the economy, campaign finance and demographic issues. As associate editor, she launched Data Mine, a data visualization blog on usnews.com.

A native of Titonka, Iowa, Kurtzleben has a bachelor's degree in English from Carleton College. She also holds a master's degree in global communication from George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs.

The lineups are set for the first Democratic presidential primary debates.

Among the debate matchups: Former Vice President Joe Biden, currently leading in primary polls nationally, will face off against Vermont senator and 2016 candidate Bernie Sanders, as well as California Sen. Kamala Harris and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren will face New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

The Democratic National Committee announced Thursday the list of presidential candidates who will take the stage at the first primary debates, on June 26 and 27.

To accommodate the massive field of candidates, the debates will be spread over two nights, with 10 candidates taking the stage for each two-hour debate.

Here are the candidates who the DNC said have made the cut, in alphabetical order:

  • Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden*
  • New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker*

In 2005, bankruptcy was on the rise and had been for years.

Lawmakers were pondering why, exactly, that was happening — and what, if anything, they should do about it — when two future presidential rivals squared off over a bankruptcy overhaul bill that would restrict who could write off their personal debts.

Updated 2:07 p.m.

Bernie Sanders didn't have his usual adoring crowds at his Wednesday campaign stop. That's because he spoke to Walmart shareholders at their annual meeting.

At a time when House Democrats are battling the president for his tax returns, new disclosures provide some basic information about his finances. For instance: His income was at least in the hundreds of millions last year.

Alice Rivlin, former President Bill Clinton's budget director who overcame sexism to become the first woman to serve in that role, has died of cancer, the Brookings Institution confirmed Tuesday. She was 88.

Her name may not be widely known outside of Washington, but she had a hand in five decades of the nation's economic policy. At the peak of her power, she was one of the most influential and respected nonelected officials in the country.

A West Virginia town of roughly 400 people isn't an obvious place for a progressive Democrat to campaign for president. But nevertheless, there was Elizabeth Warren rallying her supporters in the town of Kermit last Friday.

Warren spoke to a small crowd in the town firehouse about the opioid crisis, while Trump supporters demonstrated by the highway just outside.

"It's time to talk about personal responsibility, and that means the people who helped create this problem. And I've got a plan for that," Warren said, to loud cheers.

Workers on the Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign have ratified a union contract with management, which says it is the first campaign union contract at the presidential level.

The campaign and the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 — with whom the workers are affiliated — both announced the agreement on Wednesday.

Jill Biden is accomplished in her own right — she holds two master's degrees and a doctoral degree. But then, her husband is the former vice president and a top contender for the Democratic presidential nomination for 2020.

And so while she has maintained her own career, she has also taken her husband's aspirations in stride.

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Updated at 3:41 p.m. ET

Talk to enough Democratic voters this campaign season, and you hear a certain idea over and over.

"I'd love to vote for a woman. I'm not sure that any of the women candidates will make it to the top in the way that I think Biden and Beto will," said Patti Rutka, who turned out to a March event in New Hampshire for former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke.

Pete Buttigieg, a Democratic presidential candidate and the mayor of a small, majority-white city, came to New York this week to appeal to black voters.

"I believe an agenda for black Americans needs to include five things that all of us care about: homeownership, entrepreneurship, education, health and justice," the mayor of South Bend, Ind., told the audience at the National Action Network's conference.

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Beto O'Rourke got lots of attention from his campaign kickoff in Keokuk, Iowa. And thanks to some of his comments, not all of that attention was good.

At the start of his speech, O'Rourke referenced a call from his wife, Amy, "who's back in El Paso, Texas, where she is raising, sometimes with my help, Ulysses, who's 12 years old, Molly, who's 10, and their little brother, Henry, who is 8 years old."

To some Democratic voters, that seemed like a flip acknowledgment that he was handing off parenting duties to his wife while he pursued his political dreams.

Minnesotans like Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar. She was re-elected in the purple state in 2018 by 24 points, and in January Morning Consult polling found her to be one of the most popular senators in the country.

The Bernie Sanders who's running for president in 2020 is not the same Bernie Sanders who ran in 2016.

Yes, he has many of the same policy positions, and many of his 2016 supporters are enthusiastically backing him again. But the Vermont independent senator is no longer the insurgent taking on a political Goliath with huge name recognition. Now, he is the candidate with high name recognition, taking on candidates who are introducing themselves to the American people again.

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After months of speculation - will he, or won't he? - former Texas Democratic congressman Beto O'Rourke says he will run for president. O'Rourke made the announcement in a video released early this morning.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO)

Sen. Cory Booker talks about politics in grand, even spiritual terms.

Speaking to NPR about his run for the presidency, the New Jersey Democrat used phrases like "coalitions of conscience," "sacred honor" and "courageous empathy."

But those hopeful ideas pose a major challenge for Booker: how to translate his aggressively optimistic view of American democracy into any sort of policy action, especially with such gaping differences between the two parties on a wide range of policy areas.

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Over the weekend, Bernie Sanders launched his second presidential campaign.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BERNIE SANDERS: This is going to be a 50-state campaign.

(CHEERING)

Several Democratic candidates have been quick to embrace reparations recently. Bernie Sanders is more cautious.

At a CNN town hall on Monday, a woman asked Sanders about his view on reparations, and at first he talked about trying to "put resources into distressed communities and improve lives for those people who have been hurt from the legacy of slavery."

Bernie Sanders is back, but one of his signature policies never left.

In 2015, he introduced Medicare-for-all to many Democrats for the first time. Since Sanders' first run for president, that type of single-payer health care system has become a mainstream Democratic proposal.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced Tuesday that he wants the Senate to vote on a massive plan to fight climate change.

Updated 4:30 p.m.

Whether it's a deadly cold snap or a hole under an Antarctic glacier or a terrifying new report, there seem to be constant reminders now of the dangers that climate change poses to humanity.

It seemed like a mistake: When President Trump touted women's gains in the job market during his State of the Union address Tuesday, it sent the contingent of Democratic women to their feet in enthusiastic applause.

Many of those women, after all, had new jobs as a result of a record-smashing midterm election that was widely seen as a rebuke of Trump. And their white attire, in observation of the 100th anniversary of Congress voting to grant women the right to vote, highlighted their celebration even more.

It just might be time to start thinking about a recession.

Not a recession in the immediate future, of course. The latest jobs report was unexpectedly strong, and the economy is growing at a good clip.

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New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik is deeply worried about her party.

"We are facing a crisis level of Republican women in Congress," Stefanik said on Thursday, noting that there are only 13 Republican women in the U.S. House, down from 23 last session.

Stefanik stepped down as House Republicans' recruitment head last month. But with a new group she's launching, dedicated to boosting women candidates, she still has top Republicans' full attention.

If a great book is a sumptuous meal, the campaign book is a bottle of Soylent.

A novel by Nabokov, a play by Shakespeare, even a pulpy airport crime novel — these satisfy the basic urge to read a story with beginning, middle and end; to watch characters interact and to understand their complex motivations. These stories are there for the joy of consumption.

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One hundred twenty-seven. That's how many women will be in Congress this year, up from 110 in the previous Congress.

It's a jump that's simultaneously so big and so small.

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