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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 GOP's case against returning tax rates on income above $250,000 to Clinton-era levels on Tuesday hit a nerve with House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), who went on an epic rant declaring the Republican argument a bad case of déjà vu.

At his weekly press briefing, TPM asked Hoyer to respond to Republican leaders' argument that President Obama's push to continue only the middle class tax cuts from the Bush era amounts to a small business tax hike that will harm economic growth.

The No. 2 House Democrat said the tax increase will only affect some 3 percent of small businesses and will hardly tank the economy -- and then he unloaded on Republicans, recalling that party leaders made a similar case in 1993 against President Clinton's tax hike.

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A complicating facet of the fiery Republican opposition to 'Obamacare' is popular parts of the law that even GOP lawmakers have recently begun to sympathize with on various levels: guaranteed insurance coverage regardless of preexisting conditions and letting dependents up to 26 years old remain on a parent's policy.

This week House Republicans are poised to vote to repeal President Obama's signature legislation -- their 31st vote to repeal or dismantle the law. While a vote for repeal has become a litmus test for Republicans, some GOP lawmakers in tough races this fall are carving out nuanced positions on the Affordable Care Act -- including in some cases where their own family members benefit from it.

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Monday he will not implement 'Obamacare' provisions such as the Medicaid expansion and the insurance exchanges. The decision could mean that Texas ultimately loses an opportunity to cover half of its uninsured residents and relinquishes to the federal government more control over its health care system.

After informing the Obama administration of his intentions in a letter, Perry went on Fox News to explain his position. "If anyone had any doubt, we wanted to put it clearly to bed that Texas wasn't going to be a part of expanding socializing of our medicine," he said. "So we're not going to participate in any exchanges. We're not going to expand Medicaid."

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President Obama launches an effort Monday to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for one year for people making less than $250,000, and end them on marginal incomes above that level. The push serves to honor a key campaign promise that he has yet to fulfill, and highlights an important contrast with Mitt Romney four months away from Election Day.



It also dredges up the ongoing war over the Bush tax cuts on Capitol Hill, where Republicans have so far outgunned Obama and the Democrats.

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Less than four months away from Election Day, Mitt Romney remains a virtual blank slate on policy -- and that's causing consternation among conservatives.



On issue after issue, Romney has offered sweeping promises to steer the nation on a different course than President Obama has been. But while he seeks to exploit Obama's fundamental vulnerability -- the persistently weak economy -- he is giving voters few hints on what he'd do if given the wheel.

"I don't think you can beat an incumbent president, even if the economy is slow, if 27 percent of the voters [according to a recent Fox poll] think you as the challenger don't have a clear plan for improving the economy," Bill Kristol, editor-in-chief of the Weekly Standard, said on Fox News Sunday.

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House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is apparently seeking to ease the fallout after a report unearthed his remarkably candid take on Mitt Romney.

At a June 30 fundraiser in West Virginia, Boehner said Americans "probably aren't going to fall in love with Mitt Romney," according to Roll Call. Apart from the Republican nominee's "friends, relatives and fellow Mormons," his support will largely be driven by opposition to President Obama, Boehner said.

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Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) married his longtime partner Jim Ready in a small Saturday ceremony in Newton, Mass. on the banks of the Charles River.

Back in 1987, Frank was the first member of Congress to reveal himself as openly gay. Now he's the first member of Congress to wed a same sex partner. He has served in the House since 1981 retiring at the end of his term.

Frank, 72, and Ready, 42, met at a 2005 fundraiser.

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John Roberts caught the nation by surprise when his vote saved the Affordable Care Act under Congress' taxing power. Few expected the chief justice to uphold President Obama's signature law and even fewer expected him to be the deciding vote in the historic case. Conservatives were furious with what they deemed a betrayal.

After his hostile questioning during oral arguments, most court watchers placed his vote comfortably in the "overturn" column. But in the months leading up to the decision, Roberts left behind a trail of subtle -- albeit inconclusive -- hints that he may vote in favor of the law.

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Mitt Romney's campaign lashed out at the Obama campaign in a Sunday statement following a wave of attacks from Democrats over Romney's offshore bank accounts.

In a statement to reporters, Saul said:

The Obama campaign's latest unfounded character assault on Mitt Romney is unseemly and disgusting. Mitt Romney had a successful career in the private sector, pays every dime of taxes he owes, has given generously to charitable organizations, and served numerous causes greater than himself. Barack Obama has become what he once ran against – a typical politician willing to use false and dishonest attacks to save his job after failing to do his job. The American people expected more from this president, and he continues to let them down.

Obama campaign spokesperson Lis Smith emailed TPM this response:

If highlighting the fact that Mitt Romney had a Swiss bank account and put his money in offshore tax havens is "unseemly and disgusting," perhaps he shouldn’t have done it in the first place. He can put this whole debate to bed by following decades of precedent and releasing additional years of tax returns to prove that he didn’t use these offshore accounts and corporations to avoid paying U.S. taxes. Until he does, Americans have to wonder just what he is hiding.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) said Sunday that Mitt Romney is the "daddy" of the Affordable Care Act.

"Let's get down to the bottom line here," Durbin said on CBS' "Face The Nation." "Mitt Romney is the Obamacare daddy. He gave birth to this baby up in Massachusetts, and now he doesn't recognize it."

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