Danielle Kurtzleben | KUOW News and Information

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 used numbers to tell stories that went far beyond polling, putting policies into context and illustrating how they affected 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.

Throughout the Trump presidency, Democrats have had one glimmer of optimism looking ahead to 2018. Polls continue to show that the party is well ahead of Republicans on the "generic ballot" — the term for when pollsters ask voters which party they would like to win the House of Representatives in the next election, or which party's House candidate they would likely vote for.

The Affordable Care Act is not "exploding" or "imploding," as President Trump likes to claim. But Trump does hold several keys to sabotaging the insurance marketplaces, should he so choose — one of which his administration is reportedly weighing using.

The Republican scramble to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act has yielded yet another version of a health care overhaul bill, along with yet another score from the Congressional Budget Office — the second analysis from the nonpartisan agency in two days.

President Trump did not do much to sell the Senate health care bill before its failure. But he gave the sale a shot Wednesday in the White House before cameras and a captive audience of nearly all the Republican senators. His comments were at times confusing, and in some cases, outright incorrect.

It shows the challenge for a president who doesn't dive deeply into policy to sell his agenda.

The House budget plan would slash spending by $5.4 trillion over 10 years, including more than $4 trillion in cuts to mandatory spending like Medicaid and Medicare, while ramping up defense spending.

It's time again for one of Washington's favorite manufactured crises.

The Trump administration this week unveiled its strategy for the economy and dubbed it "MAGAnomics."

In the Wall Street Journal, Trump budget director Mick Mulvaney wrote that "the focus of MAGAnomics is simple: Grow the economy and with it the wealth of, and opportunity for, all Americans."

The simple plan: Ratchet the economic growth rate up to a sustained 3 percent annually. That's an ambitious target, given current levels of around 2 percent.

Updated 6:56 p.m. ET

Senate Republicans on Thursday released a revised version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act, their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act.

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

LAKSHMI SINGH, HOST:

Americans love the concept of independence, whether it's about annually celebrating freedom from the British or fetishizing individualism. In honor of America's Independence Day, we figured it was as good a time as any to explore America's political independents.1

The Affordable Care Act isn't perfect. Even proponents of the law would agree with that.

In many parts of the country, there is only one insurer in the individual markets — and in a few, there are zero. Premiums have spiked, sending some people on the insurance exchanges hunting for new plans.

One provision of the Senate's health care bill stands to be quite popular: the Better Care Reconciliation Act would eliminate the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate. That would be repealed immediately.

Another would likely please the Republican base: defunding Planned Parenthood for a year. Those funds would disappear right away, too.

Another would threaten health care coverage for millions of Americans: a rollback to the Medicaid expansion. That change wouldn't start until 2021.

Some activists in Georgia were having flashbacks.

"It's like reliving November, right?" said Georgia resident Jessica Zeigler about Democrat Jon Ossoff's loss to Republican Karen Handel in the state's closely watched special election last week.

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.)

Updated at 1:26 p.m. ET

President Trump issued an eyebrow-raising tweet Friday morning.

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

Trump's tweet comes less than a day after a strange statement from a senior official in his administration.

What does it mean to make a bill less "mean"? This week, President Trump told Senate Republicans to do just that to their health care overhaul bill, and to also make it "more generous," as sources told the Associated Press. But it appears the White House didn't give much more direction: "the president did not say what aspects of the bill he was characterizing," the AP also reported.

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.

Even though President Trump took office with record-low approval ratings, multiple polls (and, accordingly, news reports) have shown his approval rating dipping even further.

Look at his ratings on polling aggregators like RealClearPolitics or FiveThirtyEight, and the drop sure looks dramatic.

At the G-7 summit last week, Donald Trump glad-handed and posed for photo ops with leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Tuesday, however, he had some harsh words for Merkel's Germany.

"We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO & military. Very bad for U.S. This will change," he tweeted on Tuesday morning.

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.

When the Trump administration previewed its budget last March, it called it the "hard power" budget. The latest details show that it greatly increases spending on defense, veterans and homeland security, and it slashes funding for major social safety net programs such as Medicaid and SNAP (also known as food stamps).

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.

Over the last two years, a gender divide has opened up in the U.S. Suddenly, men are far more optimistic about the nation's future than women.

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.

Ivanka Trump's Women Who Work is the latest entry in the crowded "having-it-all" genre — the ocean of books aimed at helping women navigate their careers.

White evangelicals are a formidable force in American politics. Republican candidates hustle for their votes. White evangelical leaders have befriended presidents of both parties. The group even gets its own separate question in presidential exit polls.

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