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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

As expected, the Republican-led House voted 244-185 on Wednesday to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Five Democrats joined all Republicans in favor of repeal.

GOP leadership pointed out yesterday that it would be the chamber's 33rd vote to repeal, dismantle or defund President Obama's signature law.

Hours earlier, various House Democrats told TPM that despite their inevitable defeat on Wednesday's repeal bill, which will perish in the Senate, they were confident that the health care law will stand the test of time.

House Republicans will vote Wednesday to repeal 'Obamacare' -- again.

"To date, 32 Floor votes have been taken to repeal, defund, or dismantle ObamaCare. Tomorrow's vote to repeal ObamaCare will be the 33rd," read an advisory from the office of Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

The vote, which follows the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, signals that the conservative base's visceral opposition to the law remains strong. Republicans are set for another unanimous show of resistance to President Obama's signature law, despite some hedging from politically vulnerable members, and will probably pick off a handful of vulnerable Democrats.

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The GOP's central argument against President Obama's renewed push to let taxes rise on incomes over $250,000 is that it'll target small businesses. The party's rhetoric obscures the fact that the plan will hike taxes on just a minor fraction small business filers.

"What the President is proposing is therefore a massive tax increase on job creators and on small business," Romney said Monday. "Small businesses are overwhelmingly being taxed not at a corporate rate, but at the individual tax rate. So successful small businesses will see their taxes go up dramatically and that will kill jobs."

But to what extent would Obama's tax plan actually affect small businesses?

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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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