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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

The White House's top health official made clear on Monday that it would not fund a partial Medicaid expansion for states that choose not to embrace the new funding under the Affordable Care Act.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote a letter to governors saying the administration "continue[s] to encourage all states to fully expand their Medicaid programs."

In an accompanying blog post, she declared that "the law does not create an option for enhanced match for a partial or phased-in Medicaid expansion to 133 percent of poverty."

In other words, the states must take all or nothing. That sets up a dilemma for Republican governors, who have to decide whether to stonewall Obamacare or accept the generous funding to cover their low-income uninsured residents.

Rep. Tom Price's (R-GA) office shut down rumblings on Monday that he may challenge John Boehner for Speaker in the next Congress.

"Congressman Price is not running for speaker," a Price spokesman told TPM. "He is focused on real solutions to get America back on track. Those solutions reside in fundamental principles that embrace individual opportunity and economic freedom."

Will the Supreme Court rule in favor of marriage equality when it takes up the Defense of Marriage Act next spring? One justice warned nearly a decade ago that the Court had already paved the way to do just that: Antonin Scalia.

In a landmark 2003 decision, the Court ruled that states may not outlaw sodomy among consenting adults of the same sex. The minority dissent in the 6-3 ruling in Lawrence v. Texas was authored by Justice Scalia, who argued that the Court's reasoning effectively, if not explicitly, knocked down the legal basis for outlawing gay marriage.

"Today's opinion dismantles the structure of constitutional law that has permitted a distinction to be made between heterosexual and homosexual unions, insofar as formal recognition in marriage is concerned," Scalia wrote.

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National Review reports that conservative Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), fresh off having lost a battle for a coveted leadership position, may mount a challenge to John Boehner's speakership.

Robert Costa delves in:

Should a debt deal go sour, the buzz is that Tom Price, a 58-year-old physician from Georgia, may challenge John Boehner for the speaker’s gavel.

“Price is the person we’re all watching,” says an aide close to House leadership. “We know he’s frustrated, but we don’t know much else.”

In an interview with National Review Online, Price won’t speculate about his future, but he acknowledges his growing uneasiness. “My concern is that within our conference, conservatives, who are a majority, don’t have a proper platform,” he says. “That’s true at the leadership table and on the steering committee.”

The rumblings come amid conservative discontent with the fact that a handful of right-wing House Republicans were thrown off prominent committees. Price, a former chairman of the deeply conservative Republican Study Committee, is well respected on the right.

President Obama issued a statement Sunday lamenting the death of an American special operator during a mission to rescue a U.S. citizen in Afghanistan.

Yesterday, our special operators in Afghanistan rescued an American citizen in a mission that was characteristic of the extraordinary courage, skill and patriotism that our troops show every day. Tragically, we lost one of our special operators in this effort. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, just as we must always honor our troops and military families. He gave his life for his fellow Americans, and he and his teammates remind us once more of the selfless service that allows our nation to stay strong, safe and free.

Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) said Sunday that middle income tax cuts would pass the House if brought up.

Asked on CNN's "State of the Union" if he sees growing Republican support for the bill that GOP leaders oppose, he said, "Yeah, honestly I think if it got to the floor, it would carry."

"I think it would," said Cole, a deputy majority whip. "Look, that's my judgment, but I spend a lot of time counting votes and looking around. But this doesn't say we're going to raise taxes on anybody, it says OK this group for sure, your taxes aren't going up. Get that done with, get it over with."

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Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) said Sunday that legislation to extend middle income tax cuts would pass the House if it's brought up. Cole, a deputy majority whip, has argued recently that his party should relent on the issue -- for now.

His exchange with host Candy Crowley on CNN's "State of the Union":

CROWLEY: Congressman, what is the art of the doable here for Republicans?

COLE: Well, the first thing that's doable is to take the things you agree on and get them off of the table.

CROWLEY: And that would be tax cuts for people...

COLE: ...get it done.

CROWLEY: In your caucus, do you have a lot of -- is there a lot of burgeoning Republican support for that?

COLE: Yeah, honestly I think if it got to the floor, it would carry.

CROWLEY: Ah, well in the House that's the big deal, though, is getting it on the floor.

COLE: I think it would. Look, that's my judgment, but I spend a lot of time counting votes and looking around. But this doesn't say we're going to raise taxes on anybody, it says OK this group for sure, your taxes aren't going up. Get that done with, get it over with.

Conservative columnist George Will said Sunday that the Supreme Court will review same sex marriage next year at a time when the opposition to it is dissipating.

"There is something like an emerging consensus," he said on ABC's "This Week" roundtable. "Quite literally, the opposition to gay marriage is dying. It's all the people."

Sen. Tom Coburn said Sunday on ABC's "This Week" that he'd accept tax increases as part of a fiscal cliff deal if paired with "significant entitlement reform."

"Will I accept a tax increase as a part of a deal to actually solve our problems? Yes," Coburn said.

"The real problem -- the president's proposing 7 percent of the solution," he said. "What we ought to be working on is the other 93 percent, because even if you do what he wants to do on tax rates, you only affect 7 percent of the deficit.  What we have done is spend ourselves into a hole, and we're not going to raise taxes and borrow money and get out of it."

IMF chief Christine Lagarde warned Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" that failure to reach a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff would mean no economic growth for the U.S. in 2013.

"If the U.S. economy was to suffer the downside risk of not reaching a comprehensive deal, then growth would be zero," Lagarde said. "It would be much better to actually have a more comprehensive approach and to deal with all the issues."

"The real threat that we have at the moment is really here with us," she said.

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