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.

President Bill Clinton had his eye on the future when he nominated Stephen Breyer to the Supreme Court in 1994.

"Judge Breyer will bring to the court a well-recognized and impressive ability to build bridges in pursuit of fairness and justice," Clinton said in announcing his nomination. "In the generations ahead, the Supreme Court will face questions of overriding national importance, many of which we cannot today even imagine."

It's not just the things the court has ruled on that have changed; the atmosphere around Supreme Court confirmations has shifted dramatically.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren's Persist sent me digging for some old tape, from the February 2019 annual gathering of the National Action Network, a major civil rights organization. Most of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates gave their stump speeches an early test-drive that day.

In at least 30 states nationwide, lawmakers have introduced bills aiming to keep transgender girls and women from participating on girls' and women's sports teams. These type of restrictions have become a major culture war battle, with Republican lawmakers being the loudest proponents of such bills, while Democrats often oppose them.

One recent tweet from New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand — along with its reams of snarky responses — sums up a key divide over infrastructure in Washington right now.

"Paid leave is infrastructure. Child care is infrastructure. Caregiving is infrastructure," she wrote.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had a blunt initial response to the prospect of a new, climate-focused infrastructure package weighing in at around $2 trillion.

"The size of it is disappointing. It's not enough," she said.

When the South Dakota state legislature passed HB 1217 in early March, South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem tweeted that she was "excited" to sign it.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Here are two trends that very well may be preoccupying the White House right now:

One, midterms tend to be rough for a president. The more seats the president's party holds in Congress, the more they tend to lose, according to data from the UCSB's American Presidency Project. In fact, if you plot seats lost or gained against seats held, the slope points decidedly downward.

Updated March 11, 2021 at 4:59 PM ET

There was an impassioned debate in the South Dakota State Senate this week over a proposed bill that would restrict transgender female students from participating in female sports.

Legislators supporting the bill framed their arguments around fairness.

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