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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

Appearing Sunday on ABC's "This Week" Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), a member of the Democratic leadership, telegraphed her party's intentions if Republicans refuse to accept a tax increase on the wealthy.

"[T]o solve this problem, the wealthiest Americans have to pay their fair share too," she said. "If the Republicans will not agree with that, we will reach a point at the end of this year where all the tax cuts expire and we'll start over next year, and whatever we do will be a tax cut for whatever package we put together. That may be the way to get past this."

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), the highest ranked House Republican woman, said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" that Republicans need to become more "modern" but not "moderate."

"I don't think it's about the Republican Party needing to become more moderate; I really believe it's the Republican Party becoming more modern," she said. "And whether it's Hispanics, whether it's women, whether it's young people, the Republican Party has to make it a priority to take our values, to take our vision to every corner of this country."

"I think it's more about the messenger and who's communicating our values to every corner of this country."

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), the highest ranked woman in the House Republican conference, said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" that Americans largely voted for the status quo.

"What I saw largely was a status quo election. The voters decided to keep things basically the same with the Republicans in the majority in the House, and the Democrats with the presidency and the Senate," she said. "But they also recognize that both parties have something very important to offer."

Fortunately for the United States, Florida won't swing the election, because if it did, the nation may be without a president-elect for a while longer.

The other 49 states have been called, and President Obama has easily won reelection. But Florida carries 29 electoral votes, and as of Thursday afternoon, the state still did not know which candidate has won them.

With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Obama leads Mitt Romney by roughly 55,000 votes, according to Florida's official tally -- a small sliver of the 8.4 million ballots counted. Even networks have refrained from declaring a winner.

So what went wrong?

Read More →

In an interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) signaled that he may not push for more votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act in its entirety.

In an email to TPM, his spokesman Kevin Smith clarified Boehner's intentions.

“While ObamaCare is the law of the land, it is costing us jobs and threatening our health care," Smith said. "Speaker Boehner and House Republicans remain committed to repealing the law, and he said in the interview it would be on the table."

Smith emailed TPM the full transcript of Boehner's exchange:

DIANE SAWYER: A couple of other questions about the agenda now. You have said next year that you would repeal the healthcare vote. That's still your mission?

JOHN BOEHNER: Well, I think the election changes that. It's pretty clear that the president was reelected, Obamacare-- is the law of the land. I think there are parts-- of-- the healthcare law that-- are gonna be very difficult to implement. And very expensive. And as-- the time when we're tryin' to find a way to create a path-- toward a balanced budget-- everything has to be on the table.

DIANE SAWYER: But you won't be spending the time next year trying to repeal Obamacare?

JOHN BOEHNER: There certainly may be parts of it that we believe-- need to be changed. We may do that. No decisions at this point.

Now that President Obama has secured re-election, allies and foes alike agree that his health care reform law is here to stay. The legislature, the executive, the judiciary and now the electorate, in its own way, have ratified it. And as more popular provisions of the law take effect in the coming months, rolling them back will be an increasingly dicey political proposition.

But that doesn't mean it's smooth sailing for the ACA from this point forward. The law is vast and complicated and sure to encounter implementation problems -- and many of those problems won't be fixable unless Republicans agree to participate constructively.

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No. 3 Republican Sen. John Thune will not run for the position of minority whip, according to Politico, which reported that he told colleagues he'll remain Senate Republican Conference Chairman.

That clears a path for No. 4 Republican Sen. John Cornyn to seek the No. 2 role. Cornyn was chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee this cycle.

Democrats may have held on to the White House and romped in the Senate, but they fell well short of taking back the House of Representatives on Tuesday -- a goal they'd set out for themselves from the moment they lost it in a 2010 landslide.

In the end, it wasn't even close: networks declared early Tuesday night that Republicans would keep their House majority. Some results are not yet final, but even if Democrats gain some seats they'll fall far short of the 25 they needed to retake the chamber.

How'd that happen? After all, the GOP won a huge number of seats in the historic midterm elections two years ago, suggesting the partisan pendulum should have been poised to swing back toward the Democrats in a substantial way. And from the moment Republicans swarmed Capitol Hill in January 2011, they embarked on a kamikaze quest to thwart President Obama's agenda, and threw their weight behind an unpopular plan to privatize Medicare -- a plan that became central to Democratic efforts to wrest back control of the House. As a consequence, congressional approval ratings plummeted below 10 percent.

Why wasn't this a recipe for a Democratic rebound?

Read More →

One day after Republicans comfortably held control of the House, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (VA) flexed the muscle of his caucus and spoke out in opposition to any increase in tax rates.

He said in an afternoon statement:

"I'd like to congratulate President Obama on his re-election. Congratulations are also due to House Republicans who were sent back to Washington with a strong majority. We now know the results of the election, but what are the results for the American people?

"I hope President Obama responds to this election by making an effort to work with Republicans. There is no mandate for raising tax rates on the American people. There is a mandate for avoiding the fiscal cliff and finding real solutions so we can make life work for people again.

"Higher tax rates won't create jobs and they won't solve our spending crisis. Massive defense cuts won't make us safer and won't support our troops. Ingnoring the problems of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid won't help people get better health care or prepare for a secure retirement. The fiscal cliff is looming, and we must provide real solutions, or face dire consequences.

"Small business owners want results, in the name of substantive tax reform and a smarter regulatory environment. Families want results, in the name of a less intrusive government, better schools and more take home pay. Delivering results will boost people's confidence in Washington and restore the promise of a brighter economic future.

"I stand with Speaker Boehner when he says 'let's rise above the dysfunction, and do the right thing together for our country.' We will work together, and with our Republican majority, to create opportunity for families, to give those in need a fair shot and to take smart steps toward a stronger American economy. Economic growth, entitlement reform and solving our spending crisis are our top priorities, and I look forward to working with President Obama to meet these challenges."

Americans have spoken, declared Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) on Wednesday: tax revenues must be part of any fiscal deal going forward.

"The American people spoke very loudly in the presidential and congressional races and said we need to have everything on the table including revenues to solve our problems," she said.

The Democratic leadership member and incoming Budget Committee chairman spoke to reporters this afternoon about Democrats' outlook in avoiding the fiscal cliff. 

It's an extension of the message Murray, Democratic leaders and President Obama have stood by -- and campaigned on -- since last year. She insisted that Democrats won't budge on any fiscal agreement unless Republican drop their opposition to new tax revenues as well as government spending cuts.

"The Republicans have clearly let the tea party take them the extremes," she said. "We're not going to let them take the country to the extremes."

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