This month, NPR's been looking at some of the numbers that bring 2013 into focus. Today, the number 10. That's how many cities and states have passed laws guaranteeing access to some kind of family leave this year, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families. That group's long championed such leave policies. And joining us now to talk about such trends is Vicki Shabo, the partnership's director of work and family programs. Welcome.
VICKI SHABO: Thank you, Jennifer. It's so great to be here.
This was a busy year for Vice President Joe Biden: He was President Obama's point man on gun control; he traveled widely, pushing for infrastructure spending; and he recently returned form a trip to Asia, where he met with the leaders of China, Japan and South Korea.
In 2014, Biden may face an even busier schedule, as he stumps for Democratic congressional candidates in advance of November's midterm elections and tries to decide whether to make another run for president himself.
Now, we'll take a look down the Mall and across the aisle at the Republican Party, which had a pretty tumultuous 2013. NPR's senior Washington editor Ron Elving is here to give us the GOP's greatest hits of the past year. Ron, Happy New Year, almost.
RON ELVING, BYLINE: Almost Happy New Year to you, too, Linda.
WERTHEIMER: Let's start with some good news for the GOP. There is a new poll which was out yesterday. If you could vote today, would you vote for Republicans or Democrats and Republicans got a five-point lead.
President Obama stopped short of admitting he's had a pretty tough year in his final press conference of 2013. Historian Robert Dallek joins NPR's Linda Wertheimer for a look back at the year, and to put Obama's trying times in context with other presidents who had difficult second terms.
'Twas the week after Christmas and I in my cap and heavy sweater and down vest ventured out to find our beautiful capital city glittering in the winter sunshine, the cold air so clear that the crescent moon looks like a chalk drawing on the deep blue sky. The Capitol Dome and the spike of the Washington Monument all shine, showing their best postcard poses.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) talks to reporters at the Capitol in Washington, last Thursday. Reid has promised a vote no later than Jan. 7 on a measure to extend jobless benefits for three months.
A conservative Republican state senator who rode a tea party wave four years ago that nearly landed him in a primary runoff with Gov. Mary Fallin will face some added challenges in 2014, including dampened tea party enthusiasm and a popular incumbent governor.
The 113th Congress, which just ended its first year, has come to be defined more by what it hasn't done than what it has. With two warring and ideologically polarized parties controlling either end of Capitol Hill, Congress has more or less become a quagmire for policy.
Still, one of the least productive Congresses of the modern era was able to accomplish a few things in 2013. Here are five of them:
Despite a recent report that Oklahoma's ratio of prison guards to offenders is among the worst in the nation, Governor Mary Fallin's top attorney says he doesn't believe safety is being compromised at the state's prisons.
Fallin's general counsel Steve Mullins said Thursday he meets regularly with the interim director of the Department of Correction and is not concerned there is a problem with staffing at the state's prisons.