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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

Utah's Republican Gov. Gary Herbert says he's considering whether to build a state-based health insurance exchange under Obamacare or turn it over the the federal government, but wants answers before he makes a final decision.

According to the Deseret News, he wrote in a Monday letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, "Without answers, it will be impossible to determine the best outcome for Utah’s taxpayers, families and small businesses."

The paper reports:

In his letter, the governor lists 10 main questions along with about 20 follow-up questions.

Questions include: "How much will it cost the state to participate in a federal exchange, including the government, taxpayers, and the private sector?" and "What is the process to ensure that a Federal Exchange accurately incorporates all state-specific procedures and laws?"

Having run and lost on their central anti-tax stance, and with an austerity bomb nearing detonation, Republicans are softening their tone on the issue. But what may appear to be a meaningful shift on taxes among GOP leaders is belied by the unchanged policy specifics within the rhetoric.

"For the purposes of forging a bipartisan agreement that begins to solve the problem, we're willing to accept new revenue under the right conditions," said House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) in a post-election press conference.

That leaves the impression that Republicans are willing to raise revenue by limiting deductions and loopholes. Correct, but they've always been open to that -- if and only if the new revenue is used to lower tax rates rather than reduce the deficit. Look closer and it's apparent that that stance is still the same.

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If Mitt Romney has any friends left in the Republican Party, they're in hiding.

On the Sunday talk shows, senior Republicans, former Romney surrogates and prominent conservatives piled on their defeated presidential nominee for telling donors that he lost because President Obama bought off minorities and young voters with "gifts."

"It's nuts," said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on ABC's "This Week." "I mean, first of all, it's insulting. ... The job of a political leader in part is to understand the people. If we can't offer a better future that is believable to more people, we're not going to win."

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An Israeli attack on Gaza killed at least 11 people Sunday, including several children, the New York Times reports.

According to the Times, the Israel military says the air strike was aimed at a Palestinian militant believed to be involved in the rocket attacks against Israel.

It's the fifth consecutive day of attacks in the war-torn region.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) categorically rejected a fiscal deal that does not raise tax rates on upper incomes, arguing that "just to close loopholes is far too little money."

Asked Sunday on ABC's "This Week" if she'd accept a deal that would hold tax rates constant but cap deductions for high earners, she said, "No."

"The president made it very clear that there are not enough [deductions] of the sort," she said, calling that approach "a blueprint for hampering our future" because it would require deeper cuts in investments.

On potential reforms to safety net programs like Medicare and Social Security, something Republicans are calling for, she said, "If that means harming beneficiaries, I don't think that's such a good idea."

"We also don't need to be saying stupid things," he said. "Look, we had candidates in Indiana and Missouri that said offensive things that not only hurt themselves and lost us two Senate seats but also hurt the Republican Party across the board."

On abortion, while Jindal said he's pro-life, "we don't need to demonize those that disagree with us. We need to respect the fact that others have come to different conclusions based on their own sincerely held beliefs."

Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal continued his outspoken criticisms of Mitt Romney's controversial remarks that President Obama won reelection by offering "gifts" to minorities and youth.

"I absolutely reject what he said," he said. "We as a Republican Party have to campaign for every single vote. If we want people us we have to like them first. And you don't start to like people by saying their votes were bought. We're an aspirational party."

"We need to make it very clear -- we're not the party trying to protect the rich. They can protect themselves."

Retiring Sen. Joe Liberman (I-CT) said he doesn't expect to work in the Obama administration after retiring.

On "Fox News Sunday," he said there have been "no talks" of him working at the State Department, Defense Department or CIA, and that it's "not what I'm planning for the next chapter of my life."

He added that if he's offered a top role, "you've got to give it serious consideration," but "I'm not waiting by the phone -- I don't expect a call."

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