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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

On tax week, Democrats and Republicans return to Washington gearing up for battle over dueling tax proposals. The separate votes this week will highlight a fundamental divide between the two parties, one that promises to define the choice in the 2012 election.

The Republican-led House is set to take up legislation, spearheaded by Majority Leader Eric Cantor, that lets businesses with fewer than 500 employees deduct as much as 20 percent of their 2012 business income. The bill is projected to cost $46 billion, and the tax benefits are tilted toward high earners, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

Across the Capitol, the Democratic-led Senate is poised to vote Monday on "Buffett Rule" legislation that requires millionaires and billionaires to pay at least 30 percent of their income in taxes. The measure is projected to raise $47 billion over 10 years if the Bush tax cuts expire; Democrats say that number rises to $160 billion under current policy.

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At a press conference Sunday with the Colombian president, President Obama weighed in on the prostitution scandal involving Secret Service agents.

He said an investigation is underway, and that he expects it to be "thorough and I expect it to be rigorous. If it turns out that that the allegations that have been made in the press are confirmed, then of course I'll be angry."

"When we travel to another country, I expect us to observe the highest standards because we're not just representing ourselves. We're here on behalf of our people," Obama said.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner on Sunday derided Mitt Romney's argument that it's President Obama who is waging the "real war on women" as "ridiculous" and based in fiction.

"It's a ridiculous way to look at the problem," he said on ABC's This Week. "And this is a political moment and you're going to be seeing -- just to borrow a line from Mario Cuomo -- 'You're going to see a lot of politicians choose to campaign in fiction. But we have to govern in fact.'"

As Democrats seek to hammer the point that Republican policies on contraception and reproductive rights are antithetical to the interests of women, Romney last week fired back by saying it's Obama who's waging the "real war on women" with his economic policies. In a line that he, his campaign and his surrogates repeated all week, Romney argued on the campaign trail that "92.3 percent of the job losses during the Obama years have been women."

The argument, while premised in an accurate statistic, is misleading and lacks important context. The early job losses during the recession mostly affected men as they were largely in areas of manufacturing and construction. Women suffered more as the recession fully hit as layoffs hit education and other professions. Now that the recovery is taking hold, men are returning to work sooner as those lost jobs come back at a quicker pace.

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Mitt Romney's senior policy adviser Ed Gillespie defended the candidate's extension filed for completing his 2011 tax returns on Fox News Sunday.

"Like millions of Americans, Governor Romney has filed for an extension to complete his tax returns because he's waiting for other information to come in from other entities that he doesn't have the control of their forms," Gillespie said. "As you know you have to comply and make sure that the forms come up. He's waiting for those to come in. He's paid his estimated taxes and he's released his estimated income. And when the forms are completed and filed, after that he will make them public and that will be before the election. This is not out of the ordinary for people to get an extension."

He said Romney won't release 23 years of tax returns.

"Twenty-three year of personal returns -- this is a classic attempt by the Obama campaign to distract from many of the things I've just been talking about," Gillespie said.

Speaking anonymously to The Hill, House Republicans vented their anger with Majority Leader Eric Cantor for helping oust longtime Rep. Don Manzullo (R-IL) via a $25,000 donation to a super-PAC that attacked him.

A veteran lawmaker sized it up this way to the paper:

“It is a serious breach of trust,” the lawmaker said. “It sends a signal to the rest of us that if we don’t fall 100 percent in line…they will come after you.”

Cantor is in damage control mode, reportedly assuring his members that his donation was purely for the Manzullo race, and saying he does not support the super-PAC's efforts to defeat other GOP incumbents.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa said Sunday that he believes there were more Secret Service agents involved than current figures say in the prostitution scandal that broke Friday night.

"We think the number might be higher. And we're asking for the exact amount of all the people who 'were involved,'" Issa said on CBS' Face The Nation. An upcoming investigation, he said, will be "about how did this happen and how often has this happened before. Things like this don't happen once if they haven't happened before."

Mitt Romney's campaign came out swinging against Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner for saying there's "no risk" the United States will face a Greece-like debt catastrophe in the next two years.

"Almost a year to the day after telling the country there was ‘no risk’ of a credit downgrade, Secretary Geithner is at it again – telling Americans there is ‘no risk’ of fiscal disaster from our ever-growing national debt," Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul said in a statement. "What’s the real risk to America’s fiscal future? Four more years of the same failed policies from the Obama Administration."

Geithner was speaking specifically about the comparisons to Greece on NBC's Meet The Press Sunday, being interviewed by David Gregory.

Gregory: “Tom Coburn has just written a book and he said if we don't deal with these debt problems, we're going to be Greece in two years. Do you not see the debt as..."

Geithner: “No, no, no risk of that.”

Gregory: “No risk of that?”

Geithner: “No.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) chimed in Sunday on the battle for female voters, making an impassioned case that President Obama's policies are far better for women than those of presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

"It's Barack Obama whose first bill he ever signed was the Lilly Ledbetter fair pay act," she said on NBC's Meet The Press. "Mitt Romney? His hero is a governor from Wisconsin who just got rid of the equal pay laws there."

She added Obama has worked to increase economic opportunity for women by focusing on education, pell grants and broading access to health care.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) appeared on the same segment, echoing the Romney campaign's argument that most of the jobs lost under Obama have been women's jobs.

At his speech to the National Rifle Association this weekend, Rick Santorum revealed that he has signed his 3-year-old daughter Bella up as a member of the pro-gun group.

"Karen and I are life members of the NRA, and we wanted to announce today that ... now Bella is a life member of the NRA too," Santorum said. "I hope it is a long life."

(h/t CNN)

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who ran unsuccessfully for president this year, said Sunday she's considering endorsing Mitt Romney, who is all but certain to win the nomination.

"I am very seriously looking into an endorsement of Mitt Romney," she said on NBC's Meet The Press.

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