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

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.

The Supreme Court announced on Friday that it will take up California's Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that amends the state's Constitution to ban same sex marriage.

The Court will hear oral arguments in next spring and render a decision by the end of June. At issue is whether the U.S. Constitution prohibits a state from codifying a ban on recognizing same sex marriages.

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The Supreme Court declared Friday that it will take up same sex marriage next year in what's sure to be a blockbuster case with sweeping implications.

The Court accepted a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law that prohibits federal recognition of same sex marriage. Two appeals courts have ruled that Section 3, which effectively bans same sex couples legally married in their states from receiving federal benefits, is invalid under the Constitution's equal protection clause.

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wanted to prove on Thursday that Democrats don't have the votes to weaken Congress' authority on the debt limit. Instead they called his bluff, and he ended up filibustering his own bill.

The legislation, modeled on a proposal McConnell offered last year as a "last-choice option" to avert a U.S. debt default, would permit the president to unilaterally lift the debt ceiling unless Congress mustered a two-thirds majority to stop him. President Obama has championed the idea.

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Senate Democratic leaders had only good things to say about arch-conservative Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) in the wake of news that he's resigning Congress to become president of the Heritage Foundation.

"I've always liked the guy," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told reporters during a Capitol briefing. "And even though I disagree with so much of what he's done, I personally believe he does this out of a sense of real belief. It's not political posturing for him as it is for a lot of people. So I like Jim DeMint, I wish him well."

"I've read his book, he's read my book," Reid said. "We're friends."

In a huddle with reporters shortly after, No. 3 Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer (NY) said nearly the same thing -- and virtually thanked DeMint.

"I always liked him personally," he said. "I always thought he was a straight shooter and he had his views, but he was a person of integrity. But certainly his effect on the political system may have been more beneficial to Democrats than Republicans."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) declined to comment when asked about DeMint's departure, instead lamenting the chamber's vote to block ratification of a U.N. disabilities treaty, and strongly denouncing those who voted it down. DeMint was among them.