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

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."

Democrat Jon Tester is claiming victory in his race to remain the senator from Montana after the Associated Press declared him the winner Wednesday morning.

The first-term senator was ahead of Republican Denny Rehberg by 49-45 percent -- about 18,000 votes -- with 83 percent of the vote in, according to CNN.

The two fought a neck-and-neck battle in the bright-red state. Rehberg, currently the state's lone congressman, is a senior member of the GOP-led House Appropriations Committee.

Moments after AP called the race, the Tester campaign announced that the senator would deliver a victory speech in Great Falls.

Democrat Heidi Heitkamp looks poised to defeat Republican Rick Berg to become the next senator from North Dakota.

The race remains tight and has not been called by the networks as of Wednesday morning, but with 93 percent reporting, CNN had Heitkamp ahead by some 3,000 votes.

Berg -- a first term congressman who was elected during the 2010 tea party wave -- could still request a recount.

If she wins, Heitkamp, a former attorney general of the state, would replace Sen. Kent Conrad (D), the chairman of the Budget Committee, who did not seek reelection. Her showing in the bright-red state that Mitt Romney easily carried came as a surprise to many.

Rep. Jeff Flake (R) has defeated Richard Carmona (D) to become the next senator from Arizona, cable networks projected.

The congressman, who has served in the House since 2001, ran as a conservative focused on opposing government spending and earmarks.

He will replace Sen. Jon Kyl (R), the No. 2 Republican in the chamber who did not seek reelection.

Carmona, a physician and former public health official, was long seen as the underdog in the solidly Republican state but mounted a serious challenge for the seat, running close to Flake in numerous polls.

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In a statement provided to TPM Wednesday morning, Rep. Paul Ryan thanked Mitt Romney and said he's looking forward to returning to the House of Representatives as budget chief.

"I am immensely proud of the campaign we ran, and I remain grateful to Governor Romney for the honor of being his running mate," he said. "I look forward to spending some time with my family in the coming days and then continuing my responsibilities as chairman of the House Budget Committee and representative of Wisconsin's First Congressional District."

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) will deliver remarks "on the fiscal cliff and the need for both parties to find common ground and take steps together to help our economy grow and create jobs" this afternoon, according to an advisory from his office.

Democrat Tammy Baldwin defeated Republican Tommy Thompson in a race to become the next senator from Wisconsin.

Fox News and CBS News called the contest Tuesday night for Baldwin, who will become America's the first openly gay senator -- a development that progressives and gay rights advocates immediately praised as the results trickled in.

"Tonight, at the end of a long and hard-fought campaign, we have won a huge victory for Wisconsin's middle class," Baldwin said in her victory speech. "Well, the people's voice was heard tonight, Wisconsin - and come January, your voice will be heard in the United States Senate."

"I am honored, and humbled, and grateful," she said. "And I am ready to get to work."

Both candidates characterized themselves as pragmatic moderates. Baldwin played up Thompson's role as a lobbyist since serving in the Bush administration, while Thompson invoked the goodwill he built up as governor and pledge to fight for Wisconsinites.

Baldwin has served as a congresswoman since 1999.

Thompson is a former governor of the state and top Bush administration health official.

Democrat Tim Kaine defeated Republican George Allen on Tuesday night in a close and widely watched Senate contest in Virginia.

CBS News and NBC called the race for Kaine, a former governor of Virginia and chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He ran as a pragmatic problem-solver in the important swing state and painted Allen as an ideologue wedded to the tea party.

"I've called Tim and congratulated him," Allen told his supporters during his concession speech, as he thanked them. "We still remain friends personally and that's an important thing. I've congratulated him and pledged my support as he takes on the task of [representing the people of Virginia]."

"It has been a long and difficult campaign," he said. "It's also been a joyful one."

Kaine will replace retiring one-term Sen. Jim Webb (D).

Allen is a former Virginia senator and governor.