The Fix’s week in politics: Artur Davis, birth control and unemployment benefits

January 11, 2011
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“I knew exactly what I needed to say after 2010 to rebuild a career in Democratic politics. I also knew exactly what I needed to say to become a Republican superstar in 2013. But in neither case was I willing to say and spout the things that would make smart party politics.”

F­­ormer congressman Artur Davis, quoted in the Birmingham News. Since his 2010 loss in the Democratic primary for Alabama governor, Davis has moved to Virginia and become a Republican. He was considered a potential candidate to replace retiring Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), but he opted not to run.

BY THE NUMBERS

205 States have passed abortion restrictions at a very rapid pace during the past three years. From 2011 to 2013, 205 such laws were added, according to the nonprofit Guttmacher Institute. By comparison, from 2001 to 2010, 189 such laws were enacted. Abortion remains a contentious political issue, though there not been much movement on the matter in Congress in recent years.

$1.1 million Former Florida chief financial officer Alex Sink (D) has raised $1.1 million for her special-election bid in Florida’s 13th Congressional District. That’s much more than GOP hopefuls Kathleen Peters and David Jolly have combined. Sink is likely to win the Democratic nomination and is expected to begin the general-election campaign with a massive cash advantage over whichever Republican wins the GOP primary.

22 President Obama will deliver his State of the Union address in 22 days. Coming off a 2013 filled with political and policy setbacks, it will be an opportunity for him to look back at the year that was and to look forward at 2014. But with an election on the horizon in the fall, just how much the president can realistically hope to accomplish in the next 12 months is an open question.

BEST THING THATHAPPENED TO REPUBLICANS

The Supreme Court blocked the Obama administration’s mandate that all employers, regardless of religious affiliation, include birth control in their health insurance coverage. The action from liberal-leaning Justice Sonia Sotomayor makes the birth-control mandate the latest piece of Obama’s health-care law to fall into question and could give Republicans some hope of dismantling a key aspect of the law. The stay is only temporary, but Sotomayor’s move is a significant one.

BEST THING THATHAPPENED TO DEMOCRATS

The GOP declined to agree to an extension of long-term unemployment insurance. Lack of Republican support meant that the benefits expired for as many as 1.3 million Americans on New Year’s Day — a circumstance that handed Democrats a cudgel. Republicans are hesitant to support an extension, but taking away an existing benefit is always a difficult proposition, and as long as Republicans hold out, this will probably hurt them politically. Expect Democrats and the White House in the coming days to paint Republicans as uncaring ideologues trying to cut spending at the expense of the unemployed.

— Aaron Blake

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