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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

Ohio Republicans in the state legislature intend to block Gov. John Kasich (R) from expanding Medicaid under Obamacare.

A key Republican-led House panel is set to nix $13 billion in federal funds budgeted to expand Medicaid to some 300,000 Ohioans, according to the Associated Press and Columbus Dispatch. The funds were included in Kasich's budget, but are expected to be removed in the spending plan to be unveiled by state Republicans on Tuesday.

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Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), who is up for reelection in 2014, kept his options open Tuesday to filibuster debate on gun control legislation, even as numerous Republicans said they'll vote to begin debate.

"I want to see what's before the Senate. I don't know what's in the bill," Baucus told reporters in the Capitol. "My primary focus is the people of Montana. They're my employers."

TPM pressed him on whether he'll vote for a motion to begin debate.

"That's to be determined," he said. "My primary emphasis is the people I work for, and that's Montanans."

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) won't filibuster a motion to proceed to debate gun legislation, making it likelier that Senate Democrats will have 60 votes to begin debate.

"Sure, I'll vote [to begin debate]," Coburn told TPM Tueday.

His spokesman John Hart added, "Eschewing this debate is a ‘stupid party’ strategy."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) threat late Monday to filibuster gun control, which came during President Obama's televised speech bashing Republicans who have made such threats, carries important implications for the debate.

In short, McConnell's filibuster threat makes it ever more likely that any final legislation that passes Congress will have the National Rifle Association's stamp of approval.

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With Congress poised to address gun control as early as this week, President Obama returned to Connecticut on Monday to deliver an impassioned speech aimed at mobilizing public support for the cause -- and shaming the Republican senators who are on record threatening to filibuster legislation to address gun violence.

"Some folks back in Washington are already floating the idea that they might use political stunts to prevent votes on any of these reforms," Obama told the crowd, which included families of victims of the Sandy Hook shooting. "Think about that. They're not just saying they'll vote 'no' on ideas that almost all Americans support. They're saying they won't allow any votes on these provisions. They're saying your opinion doesn't matter. And that's not right."

The crowd broke into chants of, "We want a vote!"

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A subgroup of the National Rifle Association apologized Monday for issuing a report citing a school shooting that did not actually occur.

The National School Shield, a task force created by the NRA in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. elementary school shooting, last week fleshed out its recommendation to put armed guards in schools. But the New York Times and Mother Jones caught the group incorrectly citing a school shooting in Minnesota to validate the need for its proposals.

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A little known pro-gun lobby that's well to the right of the National Rifle Association has complicated efforts to reach a solution on gun control legislation, top Democrats have said in recent days.

The Gun Owners of America has been around for decades, operating mostly in obscurity, dwarfed by the lobbying and fundraising prowess of the NRA. The group's big gripe is that the NRA is too squishy and willing to compromise, and its recent efforts to scuttle gun control legislation appear to be scaring away Republicans amenable to background checks.

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White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday that President Obama shares Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-NV) frustrations about Republican filibusters of his judicial and other nominees.

"I will simply say we share Senator Reid's frustration and we hope that the Senate continues to improve in its consideration of and confirmation of the president's nominees," Carney told reporters.

Carney also called on Republicans not to filibuster gun control legislation, which 13 GOP senators have threatened to do. "If you feel that you have to vote no, vote no and explain why," he said. "Don't hide behind procedure."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) threatened in his most explicit terms yet to use the so-called nuclear option to weaken the filibuster if Republicans keep blocking judicial and other nominees from coming to a vote.

"All within the sound of my voice -- including my Democratic senators and the Republican senators who I serve with -- should understand that we as a body have the power on any given day to change the rules with a simple majority," Reid told Nevada Public Radio in a little-noticed interview Friday. "And I will do that if necessary."

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The number of GOP senators pledging to filibuster any gun control bill has grown to 13.

The original supporters of a filibuster, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Lee (R-UT), Ted Cruz (R-TX), have now swelled their ranks, according to Politico.

In addition to Paul, Lee, Cruz, Rubio and Moran, the Republican [sic] who have signed the second letter are Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Jim Risch and Mike Crapo of Idaho, Dan Coats of Indiana and Pat Roberts of Kansas.

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