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.

Small businesses, already hammered by the coronavirus pandemic, can't seem to catch a break.

On the first day of the reopened Paycheck Protection Program, a key lifeline from Congress, banks are reporting that the Small Business Administration's portal is not working.

Bankers told NPR on Monday that the system, known as E-Tran, would not allow them to enter loan application information that is needed for small businesses to access the program.

Until a few weeks ago, Melissa St. Hilaire worked the night shift taking care of a 95-year-old woman for a family in Miami.

"I help her to go to the bathroom, use the bathroom, and I watch TV with her, and I comb her hair sometimes in the night," she said.

But one day in March, the woman's daughter told her not to come back, saying she wanted to protect her mother during the coronavirus pandemic.

As if small businesses didn't have enough trouble, the Small Business Administration has notified nearly 8,000 businesses that their information may have been exposed to other businesses via the agency's website.

The application portal for Economic Injury Disaster Loans is the culprit, as CNBC's Kate Rogers reported Tuesday. She also reported that the SBA learned of the problem on March 25.

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

The $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program to boost small businesses during the coronavirus economic crisis has run out of money.

The IRS says coronavirus economic relief checks are going out "without delay."

The agency's statement comes after The Washington Post reported that President Trump's name would be included on the checks, an unprecedented step. Senior IRS officials told the Post that the extra step would delay the payments by a few days.

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Greg Hunnicutt has almost entirely shut down his Houston-based construction business. At his one remaining job site, he's being careful to minimize the risk of anyone being exposed to the coronavirus. So he keeps fewer workers on the job.

"My electrician is there now doing some work," he said. "It's just him and his helper. So what I'm trying to accomplish here is reducing how people interact."

Starting today, small businesses can apply for the nearly $350 billion in loans available through the economic rescue plan from Congress.

The loan program, known as the Paycheck Protection Program, is intended to support businesses so they can ride out the tough economic times and, most importantly, assist with either keeping current workers or rehire those who were laid off.

Updated 8:31 a.m. ET Thursday

First-time jobless claims hit nearly 3.3 million last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That's staggering when you consider that at the height of the Great Recession, initial claims topped out at just shy of 700,000.

The legislation that the Senate passed Wednesday night is set to provide $2 trillion in economic aid as the nation braces for this massive economic blow.

Joe Biden racked up four more wins on Tuesday night, further growing his delegate lead over Bernie Sanders in what is now largely a two-person race.

Exit polls showed that several broad demographic trends that have shown up in earlier states continued to hold in Tuesday's primaries: Biden tends to perform better among women than men, for example, and Sanders tends to perform better among white voters than black voters. These results help show how Biden pulled off his wins in Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi and Missouri and continued building his momentum.

To the very end, Elizabeth Warren had a plan for that. In her last days as a candidate, she was still releasing new plans — including a coronavirus plan she outlined in Houston on Saturday night, even as disappointing results came in from South Carolina.

That focus on laying out proposals inspired devotion in her legions of supporters, like Maryanne Schuessler — who was a volunteer in Warren's Columbia, S.C., office.

"She's so well-planned," she said, sighing sharply. "God! It's — I don't think she's going to do very well in this primary. And it breaks my heart."

Updated at 1:15 p.m. ET

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren ended her bid for the presidency on Thursday, acknowledging her place as the last major female candidate in the race "and all those little girls who are gonna have to wait four more years."

The divide among Democrats over "Medicare for All" has dominated the policy conversation in the 2020 Democratic primary. But another rift has opened among Democrats, this one about college affordability. The question: Who should get to go to college for free?

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg jabbed at his more liberal opponents in a new ad airing in Iowa. It doesn't name other candidates, but it's clear he's taking aim at Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who have pitched plans making free public college available to all.

Updated at 12:15 p.m. ET

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is canceling presidential campaign events "until further" notice following a heart procedure, campaign senior adviser Jeff Weaver said Wednesday morning.

Weaver said in a brief written statement that Sanders "experienced some chest discomfort" during a Tuesday evening campaign event.

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Updated at 1:13 a.m. ET

Wednesday night, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand blasted Joe Biden for a 1980s position on the child care tax credit and a comment he wrote about the "deterioration of the family."

Here's what Gillibrand said:

Updated at 1 p.m. ET

California Sen. Kamala Harris has released a health care plan just in time for the second Democratic debate, offering a role for private insurance in a "Medicare for All" system and outlining new taxes to pay for it.

The plan comes after months of questions about whether she supports scrapping private insurance — and as former Vice President Joe Biden appears to be gearing up to attack her at the upcoming debate on her support for Medicare for All.

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President Trump's reelection campaign is in full swing, and today, he went to one of the states he barely won in 2016 to reach out to a group of voters that he lost by a big margin. NPR's Danielle Kurtzleben reports.

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On Wednesday and Thursday, 20 candidates will take the Democratic debate stage to talk about a wide range of policy topics. And 20 candidates times dozens of policies equals a lot to keep track of.

It's true that, these being Democratic candidates, there's a lot they all agree on — taking action on climate change, for example, or improving the health care system. But this debate is the first time we'll see them next to each other, coming into direct conflict over what, exactly, they disagree on.

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.

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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.

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.

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Ashley Nickloes is a busy woman. She's working toward her master's degree. She has four living children (she specified that a fifth died after a preterm birth). And when I caught her, she was in St. Louis, doing simulator training for her role as a pilot in the Air National Guard.

"You know, you can only be busy a hundred percent of the time," she laughed. "You get enough sleep when you're dead."

On top of all that, she also ran for Congress in Tennessee last year, but lost in the primary.

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