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

On "Fox News Sunday," Karl Rove responded to Sarah Palin's declaration at CPAC that Republican consultants who "keep losing elections" need to either "buck up" and run for office or "stay in the truck."

Rove said that as a "balding white guy" he wouldn't be a particularly good candidate for office. But "if I did run for office and win, I'd serve out my term," he said. "I wouldn't leave office mid-term."

Palin stepped down as Alaska governor after half a term.

On ABC's "This Week" Sunday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) addressed Sen. Rob Portman's (R-OH) newfound support for same sex marriage, which the senator said was influenced by his son coming out as gay.

Boehner said he appreciates Portman's change of heart, but "can't imagine" that his own opposition to gay marriage would ever change, even if he had a child who was gay.

His exchange with host Martha Raddatz.

MARTHA RADDATZ: There was a surprise this week. Senator Rob Portman, who is a close friend of yours, a conservative from Ohio, said he has had a change of heart about gay marriage. He will now support gay marriage after learning his own 21-year-old son Will is gay. Has Portman shared this with you?

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: He has, in fact, called. Listen, Rob's a great friend and a long-time ally. And I appreciate that he's decided to change his views on this. But I believe that marriage is a union of a man and a woman.

MARTHA RADDATZ: Can you imagine yourself in a situation where you reversed your decision, as Portman has, on gay marriage if a child of yours or someone you love told you they were gay?

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: Listen, I believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. All right. It's what I grew up with. It's what I believe. It's what my church teaches me. And I can't imagine that position would ever change.

MARTHA RADDATZ: Will Portman said it was not a choice. So, how do you justify denying him a right to marriage?

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: Listen, I think that Rob can make up his own mind, take his own position. But I've made clear my position.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) expressed doubt on ABC's "This Week" Sunday about the prospects for reaching a grand bargain with President Obama on the deficit.

"I don't know whether we can come to a big agreement," Boehner said. "If we do, it'll be between the two parties on Capitol Hill." He said any such agreement must happen through "regular order."

Boehner continued his hard-line opposition to any new revenue, and said the other sticking point was that Obama does not believe balancing the budget within a decade is a priority.

"If the president doesn't believe that the goal oughta be to balance the budget over the next ten years, I don't -- not sure we're gonna get very far," he said. "And this is the whole issue. We have a spending problem here in Washington and it's time to solve the problem."

Boehner tried to walk the fine line between sounding the alarm about tackling the debt while reassuring that a crisis is not imminent. "We do not have an immediate debt crisis. But we all know that we have one looming," he said. "We have time to solve our problems. But we need to do it now."

Revealingly, when asked by host Martha Raddatz if there's any ratio of spending cuts to tax hikes that'd be acceptable, Boehner repeatedly dodged.

MARTHA RADDATZ: Well, let me ask you this simple [question]: Is there any ratio of entitlement cuts to new revenues that you would--

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: The president got his--

MARTHA RADDATZ: --say that the is three to one, four to one--

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: --tax hikes. The president--

MARTHA RADDATZ: --nothing?

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: --got his tax hikes on January the 1st.

MARTHA RADDATZ: So, the answer to--


MARTHA RADDATZ: --that is no?

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: --he ran his election on taxing the wealthy. He got his tax hikes. But he won't talk about the spending problem and that's the problem here in Washington. This year, the federal government will bring in more in revenue than in any year in our history.

On 'Fox News Sunday," retired Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH) cited failed Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock's wayward remarks on rape as an example of why the GOP is badly losing with women voters.

"Mr. Mourdock, for instance, I mean -- we're supposed to wonder why we don't have the women's vote in this country when we have a candidate suggesting that a child born as a result of rape is a gift from God? I'm not wondering why we don't have more women voting for Republicans," he said.

LaTourette, who is now a lobbyist, urged Republicans to stop looking for ways to thwart governance and to step outside their comfort zone.

"If we ever want to be a national party, then we have to look like America," he said. "Today we look like a bunch of white guys below the Mason-Dixon line."

Senate Majoirty Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) on "Fox News Sunday" cited border enforcement and a path to legalizationa and citizenship as the issues the bipartisan Senate group is working through on immigration reform.

"We're working literally hours every week," he said. "And we're making progress."

The central tax reform in Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) new budget blueprint -- which seeks to create just two income tax brackets of 10 and 25 percent -- overwhelmingly benefits the wealthy.

The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center crunched the numbers and found that Ryan's proposal would cost roughly $5 trillion over 10 years. On average, his plan would lower taxes on people making more than $1 million per year by a whopping $400,000. From there the benefits plummet.

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House Democrats came away from a closed-door meeting with President Obama on Thursday expressing openness to his proposed cuts to Social Security and Medicare, after he assured them he would never cut entitlement benefits unless Republicans yield on tax increases.

After the meeting with Obama, several key Democrats expressed an openness to entitlement benefit cuts as part of a broader budget bill that includes higher taxes. Their statements run counter to the hoary conventional wisdom in Washington that Democrats are just as stubbornly opposed to cutting safety net spending as Republicans are to higher taxes.

"I'm willing to keep my powder dry until I see what's on the table," Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) told reporters. "It's the context that matters to me. I'm not willing to absolutely rule anything in or out. ... But I'm not willing to give anything away for free."

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House Republicans unanimously voted down a measure Friday that would have raised the federal minimum wage, from its current $7.25 per hour to $10.10 by 2015.

Six Democrats joined 227 Republicans in voting it down; 184 Democrats voted yes.

The legislation was proposed as a last-minute amendment upon passage of the SKILLS Act, which reauthorizes a jobs training program. The procedural move, known as the motion to recommit, was invoked by Democrats with the instruction that the minimum wage amendment be tacked on to the SKILLS Act, an aide said.

An increase in the minimum wage to $9 was backed by President Obama during this year's State of the Union, and immediately shot down by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who argued that it would drive up unemployment by making it harder for small businesses to hire.

Democrats believe it's a winning issue for them, and Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the author of the amendment, offered a glimpse into how they intend to talk about it.

"Even while corporate profits soar and the stock market reaches new highs, the working poor continue to fall further and further behind," Miller said in a prepared statement. "If the Republicans want to take away a priority of service for low income Americans who want to learn new skills for a better job and a better life, the least we can do is make sure these workers get a decent wage."

Just weeks after hearing a challenge to the Voting Rights Act, the Supreme Court will take up another important case about the ability of Americans to participate in their democracy.

The Court will hear oral arguments Monday in a case about whether a state law in Arizona, which requires proof of citizenship in order to register to vote, violates a federal law designed to make it easier for Americans to be placed on the voting rolls.

The National Voter Registration Act, passed by Congress in 1993, requires state governments to let most voters register to vote when renewing their drivers licenses or applying for social services -- as long as they attest to being U.S. citizens. Proposition 200, an Arizona measure adopted by voters in 2004, takes it a step further and requires documented proof of citizenship prior to registering to vote, which the NVRA form does not require. The Court will decide whether or not the Arizona law violates the NVRA.

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Senate Democrats want to finalize and pass legislation to require expanded background checks for gun purchases, but they are having a hard time finding Republican support despite earlier momentum following the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told reporters Thursday that he hopes to bring background checks legislation to the floor "as soon as we can."

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