Danielle Kurtzleben

Danielle Kurtzleben is a political reporter assigned to NPR's Washington Desk. In her current role, she writes for npr.org's It's All Politics blog, focusing on data visualizations. In the run-up to the 2016 election, she will be using numbers to tell stories that go far beyond polling, putting policies into context and illustrating how they affect voters.

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.

Updated at 2:32 p.m. ET

Senate Republicans unveiled their long-awaited health care overhaul proposal on Thursday. The Senate bill, called the "Better Care Reconciliation Act," would repeal major parts of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The broad outlines of it look a lot like the House bill, the American Health Care Act, which was passed in May.

The long-awaited special election in Georgia is finally happening.

On Tuesday, people will head to the polls to cast their votes for either Democrat Jon Ossoff or Republican Karen Handel in the sixth congressional district special election in the Atlanta suburbs to replace Republican Tom Price. Price left his seat to become President Trump's health and human services secretary.

President Trump did it again on Twitter late last week.

"I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt," he tweeted Friday morning.

Once again, a Trump tweet set off a media frenzy, this time making everyone wonder whether he was indeed confirming that he was under investigation for obstruction of justice. (The White House later said the tweet was not confirmation that Trump has been informed that he is under investigation.)

Despite America's rapt attention on former FBI Director James Comey's testimony, the White House has been observing Infrastructure Week. Infrastructure is one of the only policy areas that could have crossover appeal, but there has been little real movement so far on getting something through Congress.

The revised Republican bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act will leave 23 million more people uninsured in 2026 than if that act, also known as Obamacare, were to remain in place. The GOP bill would also reduce the deficit by $119 billion over 10 years.

On a recent Sunday afternoon, dozens of volunteers crammed into a small Jon Ossoff for Congress field office in Chamblee, Ga. They were there to canvass for the 30-year-old political newcomer, but they also got a treat: a speech from Ossoff himself. He only spoke for about four minutes, but he devoted almost a minute of it to women in particular.

Updated on May 23 at 6:40 p.m. ET

When Seth Rich was killed in July 2016, police suspected it was a botched robbery.

This week, sparked by a report from a TV station in Washington, D.C., that crime took over conservative media.

The reason: Seth Rich was a Democratic National Committee staffer, and some have theorized that his work was connected to his murder.

There is no hard evidence that is true. In fact, further reporting has blown large holes in Fox 5 DC's Monday report.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Reading old love letters right after a devastating breakup is rarely a good idea.

Someday — after the wounds are a little less raw — they could be a fond reminder of a different era of one's life. Eventually, they could be warm memories of an intoxicating love affair. They might even teach a few lessons about how to do the next relationship differently.

So then, the question is: How soon is too soon?

FBI Director James Comey said this week that he is "mildly nauseous" at the idea that the FBI may have swayed the presidential election results. A new report may ease that nausea, if only a little.

Speaking to CEOs on Tuesday, President Trump touted his plans for deregulation and infrastructure-building. In the process, he made a striking claim: that the Obama administration passed an infrastructure bill that built nothing and gave money to social programs.

You may not remember that happening (because it didn't). Here's what Trump seems to have been saying and how close to the truth it is.

After seven years of trying, Republicans failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act last week.

That doesn't mean the health care drama is over, though. House Speaker Paul Ryan this week told donors that the party is "going to keep getting at this thing," according to The Washington Post.

But whatever Ryan and his colleagues manage to do, plenty could still change in the Affordable Care Act. Last week's failed bill, after all, was only one part of the GOP's plan.

The Republican health care bill would not affect Americans equally. Older, poorer people would see big reductions in coverage and cost increases, according to a report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. This first step in the GOP plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, would also create a modest deficit reduction.

The Affordable Care Act changed women's health care in some big ways: It stopped insurance companies from charging women extra, forced insurers to cover maternity care and contraceptives and allowed many women to get those contraceptives (as well as a variety of preventive services, like Pap smears and mammograms) at zero cost.

Now Republicans have the opportunity to repeal that law, also known as Obamacare. But that doesn't mean all those things will go away. In fact, many will remain.

The Office of Government Ethics has informed the Trump administration that the White House has an "incorrect" view of ethics laws.

In a Thursday letter, OGE director Walter Shaub contradicted what he called the White House's "extraordinary assertion," made in a recent letter, that "many regulations promulgated by the Office of Government Ethics ('OGE') do not apply to employees of the Executive Office of the President."

Shaub was having no part of that: "The assertion is incorrect, and the letter cites no legal basis for it."

The headlines are everywhere today: Americans trust the news media more than they do President Trump.

A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows that 52 percent of registered voters said they trust the news media more than Trump to tell them "the truth about important issues." Only 37 percent say they choose Trump.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Suddenly, people are more in favor of the Affordable Care Act than are against it. For the first time, more people believe Obamacare is a good idea than think it is a bad idea, as a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed.

Opponents of abortion rights are more likely to be Republican than Democratic. And Donald Trump was the anti-abortion rights presidential candidate in the 2016 election.

This week, Donald Trump told members of Congress that he would have won the popular vote, were it not for 3 to 5 million votes cast against him by "illegals." And when asked about it at the Tuesday press briefing, White House press secretary Sean Spicer affirmed that "the president does believe that."

But there is no evidence.

Donald Trump took the oath of office on Friday before a crowd speckled with red, many of them wearing the campaign's famous "Make America Great Again" hats.

Along with the oath of office at the Capitol on Friday, a much quieter part of the presidential handover took place, as the federal government's websites changed hands.

Donald Trump loves superlatives: words like "biggest," "best" and "greatest" pepper many of his statements, whether at a microphone or on Twitter. But a recent poll lends him another, less attractive superlative: the lowest favorability rating of any incoming president in at least 40 years.

One in five Americans is religiously unaffiliated. Yet just one of 535 members of the new Congress is.

That's what the latest data from the Pew Research Center show on the opening day of the 115th Congress. The nation's top legislative body remains far more male and white than the rest of the U.S. population as well, but religion is one of the more invisible areas where legislators in Washington simply aren't representative of the people they represent.

Update: This post was updated on February 16, 2017, and will continue to be updated as other appointments are made.

To glance at some of the political news this week, you'd think it was October.

Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta did Meet the Press over the weekend to talk about Russia hacking the DNC's emails.

Hillary Clinton aide Brian Fallon took to Twitter on Tuesday to question the FBI's investigation into Clinton's emails.

Every so often, we answer questions from our politics podcast mailbag online. This week, we answer a question from a listener wondering about so-called "faithless electors."


I had a question about a Washington Post opinion article written recently by Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig.

On July 27, Donald Trump created one of the most surreal moments of the presidential campaign, when he encouraged Russians to hack his opponent's email.

"Russia, if you're listening, I hope you'll be able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing," Trump said, speaking about Hillary Clinton's deleted emails from her private email account from her time as secretary of state. "I think you'll probably be rewarded mightily by our press."

So it was a bit of a surprise when on Monday morning, he implied in a tweet that hacking hadn't been a major topic during the election:

Donald Trump kicked off his postelection "thank you tour" with a Thursday-night rally that sounded a lot like any of his campaign rallies. He said trade was dangerous, he warned about refugees, and his mention of his former opponent, Hillary Clinton, prompted supporters to chant "lock her up."

As was the case at many times on the campaign trail, Trump's presentation of facts requires some fact-checking and context. Here's a look at the president-elect's Thursday-night speech.

Consider it another Trump flip-flop: back in October, Donald Trump told a crowd, "I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election, if I win."

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