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

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said he's "deeply saddened" by the death of Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter in a statement Sunday afternoon, declaring that the country is "better today" because of his service.

His statement in full:

"I was deeply saddened today to learn of the passing of Senator Arlen Specter. I served with Senator Specter in Congress for twenty-eight years. Senator Specter was a man of moderation; he was always passionate, but always easy to work with.

"I followed him through his previous illnesses, during the course of which he displayed great physical strength and great strength of character. Throughout his life, Senator Specter fought and won many battles, but this was one he could not win.

"America is better today because of Arlen Specter. He will be dearly missed."

Appearing Sunday on ABC's "This Week," Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) inaccurately claimed that unemployment is higher now than when President Obama took office.

JAKE TAPPER: This has been weak economic recovery, without question, but it is a recovery, and unemployment is going down, as a factual matter. Why would Congressman Ryan, in defiance of facts, suggest otherwise?

PORTMAN: I think that what he was saying is the truth, which is, unemployment's higher today than when the president took office. And you know, unfortunately, in the meantime, we’ve created net zero jobs, Jake.

The unemployment rate last month ticked down to 7.8 percent -- the same as it was in Jan. 2009 when the economy was collapsing.

Watch the video, via Think Progress.

Romney campaign adviser Ed Gillespie said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" that Mitt Romney has been "completely consistent throughout" the campaign when it comes to his opposition to abortion, amid accusations that he's softening his hard-line position from the primaries.

"Life is a very important issue in this election -- as is the economy and as it national security, all these issues always play a very important role," Gillespie said.

"He is a pro-life candidate. He will be a pro-life president."

Romney campaign adviser Ed Gillespie explained Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" how Mitt Romney views the choice in the Nov. 6 election.

"The country is a center-right country," he said. "They want free enterprise-driven economy that fosters job creation, not a government-centered economy that fosters economic stagnation."

Obama campaign senior adviser Robert Gibbs on Sunday accused Mitt Romney of engaging in "shoot from the hip diplomacy" when it comes to unraveling what happened in Libya.

"Let's figure out what happened, okay" he said on CNN's "State of the Union." "But you know what, we don't need wingtip cowboys. We don't need shoot from the hip diplomacy."

"He has done nothing but politicize this issue."

During the vice presidential debate Thursday, Paul Ryan issued perhaps his most scathing denunciation of President Obama's Medicare provider cuts in the Affordable Care Act -- the same savings that Ryan adopted in his budget blueprints.

"Look what Obamacare does," he said. "Obamacare takes $716 billion from Medicare to spend on Obamacare. Even their own chief actuary at Medicare backs this up."

"They got caught with their hands in the cookie jar, turning Medicare into a piggybank for Obamacare. Their own actuary from the administration came to Congress and said one out of six hospitals and nursing homes are going to go out of business as a result of this."

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In the vice presidential debate Thursday night, Paul Ryan confirmed that he still supports Social Security privatization but demurred that the idea of giving younger Americans the option to move their Social Security benefits into private retirement accounts is not part of the Romney-Ryan platform.

The Wisconsin congressman and House Budget Committee chairman talked up the concept when asked about his and Romney's backing of President George W. Bush's failed Social Security privatization plan.

"For younger people," Ryan said. "What we said then and what I've always agreed is, let younger Americans have a voluntary choice of making their money work faster for them within the Social Security system. That's not what Mitt Romney's proposing. We say no changes for anybody 55 and above.

"And then the changes we talk about for younger people like myself is don't increase benefit for the wealthy people as fast as anybody else, slowly raise the retirement age over time," he said. "It wouldn't get to the age of 70 until the year 2103, according to the actuaries."

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Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) pushed back on Paul Ryan's contention Thursday night that his Medicare privatization plan is bipartisan on account of the work Wyden and Ryan did on a similar voucher blueprint late last year.

Wyden wrote on Facebook after the vice presidential debate:

The Vice President is right, Romney/Ryan moved the goal post on Medicare and I strongly oppose their plan because I believe it hurts seniors. The Romney/Ryan plan raises the age of eligibility and repeals the ACA leaving millions of seniors with no health coverage. The Romney/Ryan plan on Medicare pulls the safety net out from under the poorest and most vulnerable seniors, taking away the opportunity for nursing home care from seniors who need it and have no other options.

The Wyden-Ryan white paper strengthened the safety net for these dual eligibles. The Romney/Ryan version shreds it. The republican ticket knows that neither I, nor any other Democrat, would support these policies.

The Romney/Ryan plan on Medicare is further proof that Mitt Romney is singularly unfit to end gridlock and bring bipartisan solutions to Washington.

The House's Republican oversight chief Rep. Darrell Issa clarified Thursday afternoon that despite reports to the contrary, he does not have plans to convene a public hearing questioning the Department of Labor's September jobs figures.

"While Chairman Issa, in response to a question asked yesterday, did state that he believes there are legitimate questions about the Department of Labor's method for calculating unemployment, the Oversight Committee has not announced or decided to hold hearings on the September unemployment report," a spokesperson for Issa told TPM. "Chairman Issa specifically pointed to the frequent revisions that the Department of Labor often makes to its own numbers in questioning whether more can be done to ensure that they accurately reflect the state of our nation's job market. At no point did he say he has made plans to convene a hearing on this subject."

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Mitt Romney is still trying to convince voters that his health care plan, which includes repealing the Affordable Care Act, will protect people with preexisting medical conditions. But experts still say his claims don't match reality.

His latest pitch? An open-enrollment period during which insurance companies would be require to sell coverage to uninsured consumers.

Call it a one-time amnesty for uninsured Americans suffering from illnesses, after which the GOP candidate says he'll strengthen protections for sick people who maintain continuous coverage.

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