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.

There's something almost Name That Tune-ish about the way the GOP candidates are talking about tax brackets these days. Currently, there are seven. Donald Trump wants four. Jeb Bush says he can get them down to three. Chris Christie and Marco Rubio want two. Ben Carson does them one better — one 10 percent rate, inspired by the Bible.

There's a great irony to John Boehner's resignation — once upon a time, he was involved in an attempt to oust a speaker himself. The official bio on the speaker's website puts it this way: he was, back in the day, "a reformer who took on the establishment."

But when one becomes speaker, one becomes, by definition, part of the establishment. And these days, the conservative base just doesn't like the establishment.

When Pope Francis addresses Congress on Thursday, watch in the background on the C-SPAN feed for some uncomfortable fidgeting. That's because he has plenty of material to make both Democrats and Republicans squirm.

It's been a big week for abortion news.

Carly Fiorina's passionate (if inaccurate) depiction of a Planned Parenthood sting video was one of the most memorable moments of last week's GOP debate. And the House of Representatives on Friday passed two abortion-related bills — one aimed at cutting federal funds to Planned Parenthood, the other at punishing doctors who fail to provide medical care to infants that survive abortion attempts.

Given all this, you could be forgiven for thinking there's been a public-opinion shift against abortion rights in the U.S.

Carly Fiorina will make it into CNN's main debate next week, thanks to poll numbers that improved after her strong performance in Fox News' Aug. 6 "happy hour" debate.

Of course, in a field of 17, improving in the polls means moving from 1 or 2 percent to the 5 percent neighborhood.

This story was updated on Wednesday, September 9, at 5:30 PM with an estimate of the plan's revenue effects and a table of its tax brackets.

Jeb Bush's tax plan tries to do a lot. The plan aims to lower the highest tax rate, offer some relief to low earners, reform corporate taxes, stick it to hedge-fund managers and also, by the way, "unleash 4 percent growth" in the economy, as the former Florida governor puts it.

Carly Fiorina was relegated to the JV squad in the Fox News GOP presidential debate in August, but her strong performance that night helped her race past several of her peers in recent polls.

That surge in polling wasn't enough to get her into the next big debate — but it might be now.

That's because CNN Tuesday afternoon changed its criteria for who will get into its main Sept. 16 debate in such a way that Fiorina is much more likely to be included.

Jeb Bush is getting all the millionaires, and Bernie Sanders is getting the small donors — those have been two prominent storylines in the 2016 money race for the presidency.

But what about everyone in between? The Washington, D.C.-based Campaign Finance Institute released data on campaign fundraising, and it paints a fascinating picture — which we decided to make into a literal picture. Here's how the different candidates' donation patterns stack up to each other:

This is going to be an unthinkably expensive election. Case in point: estimates of spending on the presidential race stretch as high as $10 billion.

GOP presidential candidates are falling over themselves to get on record with tough immigration plans. A string of them — Rand Paul, Chris Christie, Lindsey Graham, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum — have spoken out in some form against birthright citizenship. That's the idea that being born on U.S. soil, regardless of your parents' legal status, automatically makes you a U.S. citizen.

Ben Carson went even further, saying he wants to secure the border — where he claims there are caves in which immigrants can hide — by using drones.

Jeb Bush is fond of pointing out that the number of people in poverty has gone up by 6 million since President Obama took office. He brought up the figure in the GOP debate, and he repeats it often on the campaign trail. It's not a new criticism — Mitt Romney hurled similar criticisms at Obama in the 2012 campaign.

Everyone knows student debt is growing. College costs are growing. Student debt delinquencies are rising. And now Hillary Clinton has her own plan for how to stem that tide of financial problems for college graduates.

On Monday, Clinton released a package of ideas aimed at helping Americans handle their college debt, which currently totals around $1.2 trillion. The package's splashiest proposal promises future students a debt-free four-year degree from a public school.

The early 2016 presidential polls are flying, which means the complaining about polls is in full swing, too.

"You guys should know by now that the Monmouth University poll was created just to aggravate me," Chris Christie told The Washington Post recently about a New Jersey-based poll that showed him with 2 percent support. "There couldn't be a less objective pollster about Chris Christie in America."

Jeb Bush is again in damage-control mode, this time over an offhand remark he made about Planned Parenthood. He said at an event hosted by the Southern Baptist Convention that Planned Parenthood should be defunded, and he highlighted that he did so as governor of Florida.

He then added as an aside, "I'm not sure we need half-a-billion dollars for women's health issues" — a statement Hillary Clinton and other Democrats pounced on, portraying it as a gaffe that reveals that Bush doesn't care about women's health. He has since said he "misspoke."

Update: This post was updated at 6:55 p.m. ET to reflect Fox's announcement of debate participants.

The Republican presidential field has just had the most exciting fight for 10th place America has ever seen.

It also just might have been a meaningless fight.

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