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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.

Standing in front of the Supreme Court on the night of Sept. 20 was a striking moment for anyone who has paid attention to women in politics for the last four years.

That's not just because it was the night of a vigil for a feminist giant, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but because it provided a somber bookend to the last four years of the American women's movement.

With news that the president and first lady have tested positive for coronavirus, Tuesday night's presidential debate can seem like a distant memory by now.

That is particularly wild because the debate was unlike any Americans have tuned into before. CNN's Jake Tapper called it "the worst debate I have ever seen" and a "disgrace."

In other words, it was a mess — and quantifiably so.

Alicia Aguiano drove down to Washington, D.C., from Philadelphia this weekend to pay her respects to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

As she stood in front of the Supreme Court building, with its sidewalk covered in flowers and chalk tributes to Ginsburg, her voice quavered and she wiped at tears.

"I've just been super inspired by her. I really identify with her," she said. "I'm a lawyer, and I also teach at a law school. And so I fully recognize that I wouldn't be where I am if it weren't for her, and so I just felt the need to come down and pay my respects."

If President Trump wins Wisconsin again, he'll have Republican stalwarts like Mary Ludwig to thank.

"I always vote Republican because I'm so against abortion," she said, sitting next to a lake in the Milwaukee suburb of Oconomowoc on a recent summer evening.

Ludwig has some reservations about Trump; she says that she doesn't like the "offensive" things he says. On the other hand, she also has things she admires about him: She really likes his kids and thinks he's handling the economy well.

Decades before Sarah Palin or Geraldine Ferraro were put on presidential tickets, India Edwards was in contention for the vice presidency. At their 1952 convention, Democrats put forth Edwards, then vice chair of the party, as a potential running mate for Adlai Stevenson.

Edwards didn't want the job.

"First of all, I had no aspiration to be vice president of the United States," she told NPR in 1984. She added with a chuckle, "I also didn't think the Democratic Party was ready for a woman vice president."

Updated at 9 a.m. ET

This week, Joe Biden's campaign released its fourth and final plank in the former vice president's package of economic ideas: a plan for racial economic equity. It's a 26-page rundown of policies ranging from a plan to boost small businesses to a first-time homebuyer tax credit.

But contained in the plan was a less-flashy proposal: asking the Federal Reserve to explicitly take race into account when it sets policy.

Candace Lightner became an activist 40 years ago when a drunken driver struck and killed her daughter, Cari.

Today, Lightner can talk about her daughter's death with little outward emotion. "It's not difficult at all, because I've done it so many times," she said before recounting the story in all its tragic detail, from the time her daughter was hit (around 1 p.m.) to the fact that the driver's wife turned him in.

Just four days afterward, Lightner recounts, she started putting together an activist group: Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD.

Updated 5:05 p.m. ET, July 23

The White House is repealing and replacing an Obama-era rule intended to combat historic racial discrimination in housing.

In a Wednesday announcement, the White House said it would be rolling back the rule as a part of a broader deregulation push.

Just under eight years ago, Republicans were recovering from a stinging presidential election loss after Mitt Romney lost to President Obama by 126 electoral votes.

And so the GOP produced a 2013 report that came to be known as the "autopsy," laying out how the party should move forward — most notably, that it should expand its outreach to communities of color, women and young voters.

Here's one way of understanding just how far off the map the U.S. economy is right now: The U.S. has now had two straight months where it has added more jobs than it did in all of 2019.

It's hard to know what's most notable about the Colorado Republican primary upset that ousted Rep. Scott Tipton on Tuesday night.

Mamie Brown is getting up earlier than ever these days.​

"A typical day for me starts about 4:30 to 5:00. I actually naturally wake up. I think part of that's my anxiety right now," she said. "And then when I do, very first thing in the morning is catch up on to-dos around the house and paperwork."

She's a self-employed lawyer in Fairbanks, Alaska, specializing in helping small businesses with things like contracts and HR issues. But now she and her husband are juggling work and their kids, ages 8 and 4.

Millennials might be getting a queasy sense of déjà vu right now. Another economic crisis — like a punch in the gut.

It's the second time for Alannah Silvernail.

In 2010, she was attending community college in western New York when she hit a rough patch.

"​My grandmother had passed away, and it ended up being a really tough semester for me," she said.

Updated 2:25 p.m. ET

Protesters staged large-scale demonstrations across the country on Sunday, expressing outrage at the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and, more broadly, anger at police brutality. Some cities, including Minneapolis, Atlanta and Louisville, saw clashes with police, buildings and cars set afire, and looting.

When the federal small business rescue program was announced, Krista Kern-Desjarlais scrambled to research it, talking to her banker and digging online.

Kern-Desjarlais runs two restaurants in Maine — the Purple House in North Yarmouth and Bresca & the Honeybee, a summer-only food stand on Sabbathday Lake. She decided to hold off on that coronavirus rescue effort, called the Paycheck Protection Program or PPP.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Until recently, Theodore Johnson worked as a massage therapist at a luxury hotel spa in Fort Worth, Texas.

He worked about 30 hours a week but was a contractor. So Johnson lobbied management for a staff job to qualify for benefits. That possibility vanished when the coronavirus hit and all his work dried up.

Johnson promptly decided to apply for unemployment. It didn't go well.

The first time Rosemary Ugboajah applied for a small-business relief loan, it didn't go well. She needed the money for her small Minneapolis-based company, which has created ad campaigns for brands like the NCAA Final Four.

So she went to her credit union.

"They were hard to reach, but eventually I got through to someone and they emailed me back saying they can't process the loan because they don't process SBA loans," she said. "I wasn't aware of that."

Very briefly, at the end of 2019 and the start of 2020, there were slightly more women on American nonfarm payrolls than men.

That's no longer true. The historically disastrous April jobs report shows that the brunt of job losses fell on women.

Trish Pugh started an Ohio trucking company with her husband in 2015. Even for a small business, it's small — they had two drivers, counting her husband, until they let one go because of the coronavirus crisis.

And so her company applied for a loan under the first, $349 billion round of the Paycheck Protection Program, which the federal government had set up to rescue small businesses.

It didn't go well.

The Small Business Administration on Wednesday will temporarily allow only the smallest financial institutions to access the small business coronavirus relief program, known as the Paycheck Protection Program.

The move to restrict access comes after concerns that the smallest of businesses, and particularly those owned by people of color, were shut out of the first round of the program, which ran out of money in 13 days.

Christian Piatt finally got a loan to help rescue his brand-new bar and restaurant in Granbury, Texas.

But it wasn't easy.

He applied through the federal Paycheck Protection Program, which is meant to help small businesses threatened by the pandemic. One bank told him it couldn't lend through the program. Another told him he might have better luck elsewhere. The third approved his loan and he got the money.

Now he's wondering: How should he use his $34,000 loan?

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.

Elizabeth Warren has now fully thrown her support behind former Vice President Joe Biden in the presidential race. She has even said, without question, that she would serve as his vice president.

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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