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

DNC chair and Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz pointed out on "Fox News Sunday" that the Affordable Care Act has extended the solvency of Medicare by eight years.

"The Affordable Care Act added eight years of solvency to the Medicare program," she said, arguing that Medicare needs to be strengthened but not turned into a voucher program, which Paul Ryan's plan converts it to.

The finding was reached by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which found that the law's payment cuts to Medicare providers will save some $700 billion over a decade. Republicans are evoking the cuts -- which don't affect benefits -- to deflect criticism of the Ryan plan.

Asked if Mitt Romney's selection of Paul like mirrors his 2008 selection of Sarah Palin as vice president, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said on "Fox News Sunday" that Ryan is "also a bold choice."

"I'm proud of Sarah and her family, and I'm proud of the work we did," he said. "I think that in this case it is also a bold choice."

Asked on "Fox News Sunday" if Paul Ryan will overshadow Mitt Romney, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) joking brought up his selection of Sarah Palin in 2008.

"I had that problem," he said, laughing.

"No, I don't think that's the case. I think this is a team that understands the challenges that we face," he continued. "And Americans recognize that running mates are very important but it's the top of the ticket, obviously, that's what the voters decide on as they enter the ballot booth."

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) dodged a question on "Fox News Sunday" about whether he embraces vice presidential pick Paul Ryan's budget, instead evoking Ryan's work with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) on Medicare.

"Right now, I guess we have to ask, what is the plan that Democrats have besides negative attack ads," he said.

McCain said it's "appropriate" for Mitt Romney to hedge on parts of the Ryan plan.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on Sunday called Paul Ryan an "excellent choice" for vice president.

"A new generation of leadership in our party and our nation. A man who understands the most compelling challenges this nation faces, obviously, are jobs and the economy," he said on "Fox News Sunday."

McCain, the GOP's 2008 presidential nominee, cited Ryan's Medicare plan as evidence of tackling big challenges.

With Paul Ryan as his vice presidential nominee, Mitt Romney's central argument pushing back against critics of the House budget chief's Medicare plan is that President Obama cut deep into Medicare under the Affordable Care Act. But Ryan's plan includes the same cuts, which don't target beneficiaries.

"Unlike the current president, who has cut Medicare funding by $700 billion, we will preserve and protect Medicare and Social Security," Romney said Saturday while introducing Ryan.

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In a statement via the Romney campaign, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on Saturday praised Mitt Romney's vice presidential pick Paul Ryan, calling him the right person to help the ex-governor restore economic prosperity.

"Paul Ryan is a reformer and a proven leader who will be a great partner to Governor Romney in his efforts to get our country, and our economy, back on track.  At a time when millions of Americans are still looking at President Obama's policies and asking 'where are the jobs?' Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney will focus on common sense solutions to stop Washington from spending money it doesn't have and get the federal government out of the way of small business job creators. 

"I'm proud to call Paul Ryan a friend, and I will do everything in my power to make sure that he and Mitt Romney -- along with our entire Republican ticket -- are well positioned to win in November."

After Mitt Romney announced that Paul Ryan will be his running mate, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) declared Saturday that the Republican nominee "now owns" the House Budget Chairman's controversial Medicare plan.

Her statement:

"There is no question that former Governor Romney now owns the Republican, Ryan budget that puts millionaires ahead of Medicare and the middle class.  Congressman Paul Ryan led House Republicans in voting to end the Medicare guarantee, which increases costs on seniors and weakens America's great middle class in order to give tax breaks to millionaires, Big Oil and corporations that ship jobs overseas.

"As Democrats, we will always preserve Medicare, strengthen the middle class and work to reignite the American Dream by building ladders of opportunity for all those who work hard and play by the rules.  The choice Americans are facing could not be more clear."

Two years ago, even as the Republican Party stormed into power in the House, a crop of hard-right Senate nominees flamed out and cost the party valuable seats. Now, it might be déjà vu as Democrats happily compare several new conservative Senate candidates to Christine O'Donnell, the tea party darling who infamously cost Republicans what should have been a surefire seat.

The latest is Tuesday's Missouri primary victor, the six-term conservative Rep. Todd Akin, who defeated two more moderate Republicans better positioned to unseat the highly vulnerable Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO).

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Last summer, Democrats reached a low point as the debt limit debacle was wrapping up. Not only did they succumb to the GOP's debt-reduction ransom in order to prevent an economic calamity, they failed to extract a penny in new tax revenues, and fissures were deepening between congressional leadership and the White House after President Obama offered to chop Medicare and Social Security. Republicans were firmly in control.

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