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

Updated: 6:15 ET

Seemingly unable to unite their members around a fiscal cliff compromise, House Republican leaders demanded Wednesday that "the Senate first must act" on House legislation to avert the mix of tax hikes and spending cuts set to take effect in January.

After a private conference call among themselves, the House's top four Republicans -- Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) -- put out a joint statement in the afternoon.

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When debt limit negotiations between Speaker John Boehner and President Obama collapsed in the summer of 2011, Mitch McConnell stepped in and struck a deal to avert default. Half a year later, when the two sides were at an impasse on how to extend the payroll tax cut, the Senate minority leader again intervened and gave Republicans an escape route.

Now, with just a week left before massive tax hikes and spending cuts take effect, the president and speaker are again at a stalemate, and the country is headed for the fiscal cliff on Jan. 1. McConnell's masterful strategic mind is built for moments like these. But will he intervene? For now, he's not giving any indication of it, saying it's up to Obama to find a solution.

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Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and his leadership team said in a Wednesday statement that the House will take action on the fiscal cliff once the Senate acts on House-passed legislation to avert the austerity measures.

After a private conference call with GOP leaders, he put out this afternoon statement, co-signed by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA).

"The House has acted on two bills which collectively would avert the entire fiscal cliff if enacted.  Those bills await action by the Senate.  If the Senate will not approve and send them to the president to be signed into law in their current form, they must be amended and returned to the House.  Once this has occurred, the House will then consider whether to accept the bills as amended, or to send them back to the Senate with additional amendments.  The House will take this action on whatever the Senate can pass, but the Senate first must act.  The lines of communication remain open, and we will continue to work with our colleagues to avert the largest tax hike in American history, and to address the underlying problem, which is spending."

Mitt Romney's eldest son Tagg Romney told the Boston Globe that his father had "no desire" to run for president again 2012 but was persuaded by his family to do so.

“He wanted to be president less than anyone I’ve met in my life. He had no desire to . . . run,” he said. “If he could have found someone else to take his place . . . he would have been ecstatic to step aside. He is a very private person who loves his family deeply and wants to be with them, but he has deep faith in God and he loves his country, but he doesn’t love the attention.”

Romney spent $45 million of his own money on his 2012 bid. 

Here's how the Globe described the former governor's mindset, as per Tagg's remarks:

More than being reticent, Romney was at first far from sold on a second presidential run. Haunted by his 2008 loss, he initially told his family he would not do it. While candidates often try to portray themselves as reluctant, Tagg insisted his father’s stance was genuine.

According to the article and other reports before the election, Tagg Romney clashed with his father's chief strategist Stuart Stevens over the direction of the campaign. Tagg reportedly wanted to highlight anecdotes of Mitt Romney's acts of kindness, but other top strategists were skeptical.

Read the Globe's post-mortem of the Romney campaign here.

In a major case next spring, the Supreme Court will consider whether it's constitutional for the federal government to refuse to recognize same sex marriage.

The justices have several options on how to come down in the Windsor v. United States challenge to Section 3 of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal benefits to gay couples that are legally married in their states.

Earlier this week TPM gamed out the potential outcomes on Proposition 8, the other big same sex marriage case the Court decided to hear regarding whether states like California can outlaw gay marriage.

Here's how legal experts say they might rule in the unrelated DOMA case, which deals with federal law.

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Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), one of Congress' most outspoken proponents for gun control, urged action to stem the tide of gun violence in the wake of a Friday shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut.

"This is a day of great sadness in America, and our hearts go out to the victims and their families.  This latest shooting tragedy is an unthinkable act of violence carried out against young children and innocent people.  Americans are sick and tired of these attacks on our children and neighbors and they are sick and tired of nothing being done in Washington to stop the bloodshed.  If we do not take action to address gun violence, shooting tragedies like this will continue.  As President Obama said, we must act now 'regardless of the politics.'"

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said Friday that Americans will unite and "rise above unspeakable evil" after the tragic shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.

“The horror of this day seems so unbearable, but we will lock arms and unite as citizens, for that is how Americans rise above unspeakable evil.  Let us all come together in God’s grace to pray for the families of the victims, that they may find some comfort and peace amid such suffering.  Let us give thanks for all those who helped get people to safety, and take heart from their example.  The House of Representatives – like every American – stands ready to assist the people of Newtown, Connecticut.” 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) reacted on Friday to the elementary school schooting in Connecticut.

"I am in shock and disbelief at this horrible tragedy that took so many innocent lives today. As a father and grandfather, it is beyond my comprehension why anyone would want to hurt innocent children. I join the millions of Americans whose thoughts and hearts are with those suffering because of this horrible crime in Connecticut."

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) issued a statement mourning the death of victims at the Connecticut elementary school shooting on Friday.

"As a parent and a public official, my heart and prayers are with these innocent victims, their families, and the entire community. I share the shock of all Connecticut at this hideous, horrific crime of inhuman violence.  I will be in close communication with law enforcement and state and local officials to ensure they receive the federal support and resources they need."