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Sahil Kapur

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.

Articles by Sahil

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California will be the next majority leader.

As expected, Republicans elected McCarthy to replace ousted Rep. Eric Cantor once he steps down from the post on July 31. McCarthy defeated upstart Rep. Raúl Labrador, a second-term congressman who enjoyed some tea party support.

It was a secret ballot election so the vote tally won't be announced.

So, what does this mean for Congress?

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Senate Democrats hit pause on a government funding bill on Wednesday night after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) demanded a vote on an amendment targeting the Obama administration's new rules to combat climate change.

Senate Appropriations Chair Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) pulled consideration of the energy and water bill -- one of various measures to avert a government shutdown on Oct. 1 -- after the top Senate Republican offered his amendment to prevent funding for the implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency's rules on coal-fired power plants until the administration certified that it wouldn't harm jobs or raise utility rates.

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Rep. Raúl Labrador was treated to a rude surprise on Tuesday when he appeared on conservative pundit Laura Ingraham's radio show to talk up his tea party credentials as part of his longshot bid to become the next House majority leader.

Instead the Idaho Republican -- who has worked hard over the last eight months to block any House action on immigration -- was attacked by the host for being too pro-immigration.

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The White House fired a warning shot to Republican senators on Wednesday after several of them expressed interest in using a must-pass government funding bill to block the Obama administration's environmental regulations.

"If Republicans want to repeat their government shutdown play to protect the profits of big polluters, they're placing a pretty risky bet," a White House official, who wasn't authorized to discuss the matter on the record, told TPM.

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Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) has the edge in the race to succeed Kevin McCarthy if and when the House majority whip ascends, as expected, to the position of majority leader.

The secret-ballot election is Thursday and the insurgent candidate, tea party-backed Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-ID), has the backing of some staunch conservatives but likely not enough to win, Republican lawmakers suggested on Wednesday. The two men pleaded their cases in a closed-door forum Wednesday for the coveted No. 2 position.

The whip race is the "one of intrigue," Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) said. It's among Scalise, Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), the chief deputy whip and upstart conservative Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN).

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If early Republican enthusiasm is any indication, the upcoming Sept. 30 deadline to keep the federal government open could turn into an all-out war over President Barack Obama's executive actions to combat climate change.

As TPM reported earlier this week, senior House Republicans are considering using appropriations legislation to block the Environmental Protection Agency's new restrictions on coal-fired power plants, aimed at cutting climate-warming pollution by 30 percent by 2030.

On Tuesday, numerous Senate Republicans expressed strong support for the idea.

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