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

In an interview that aired Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union," Mitt Romney declined to offer any hints on his selecting a vice president.

"I have nothing for you on the vice presidential front," he said. "I give you nothing on that. But I can assure you that by the third day of the Republican convention, we will nominate a Republican VP."

In a CNN interview that aired Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union," Mitt Romney said he's concerned about the middle class and poor, not the very wealthy.

"I know the very wealthy are going to do just fine -- whoever's elected," he said. "The middle class -- that's the group of people I'm most concerned about, they need our help -- and the poor -- they need our help with good jobs."

In an interview with CNN that aired Sunday, Mitt Romney defended his claim that he would create 12 million jobs in 4 years if elected president.

"That's what happens in a normal process -- when you come out of a kind of recession we've had, you should see this kind of job creation," he said on "State of the Union." "We should be seeing 2-3-400,000 jobs per month to regain much of what's been lost. That's what normally happens after a recession. But under this president, we have not seen that kind of pattern."

He claimed President Obama wants to give more money to government.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Sunday accused Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for his repeated statements over the last week that Mitt Romney has not paid taxes for 10 years.

"I actually like Harry. But what he did on the floor of the Senate is so out of bounds. I think he's lying about his statement -- knowing something about Romney's [taxes]," he said on CNN's "State of the Union." "I think he's created an issue here. I think he's making things up at a time when the country is just about to fall apart."

"And I just can't let that pass. I just cannot believe that the majority leader of the United States Senate would take the floor twice, make accusations that are absolutely unfounded in my view, and quite frankly making things up to divert the campaign away from the real issues."

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said Sunday that he'd be willing to include new revenue in a deal to avoid the automatic defense cuts known as sequestration -- but by closing loopholes, not hiking tax rates.

"I'm willing to put revenue on the table, but not by raising tax rates," he said on CNN's "State of the Union."

"Close loopholes -- I know we can find them."

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) dodged a question Sunday about whether he would be willing to let taxes go up on all Americans if President Obama is reelected and Congress fails to reach a deal.

"I'm willing to do the Bowles-Simpson plan," he said on CNN's "State of the Union."

He added that it would be "stupid" to let the Bush era high-income tax rates rise to Clinton-era levels.

Top House Republicans aren't wasting time mapping out their ideal plan for comprehensive tax reform and have recently detailed how they would maneuver their legislation through Congress next year if they win the White House and control of both chambers.

The course they've charted is designed to make the right's dream tax bill all but inevitable. It includes strict guidelines to keep tax revenues stay near historic lows and a combination of fast-tracking procedures and enforcement mechanisms to make sure the reforms become law, and quickly.

Here's how the plan would work, according to a well-placed Republican aide.

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Thursday called an extension of the high-income Bush tax cuts "a recipe for failure that we've already done" and yielded "record unemployment."

"I know that the candidate of millionaires thinks that that's the only way -- trickle down," she told reporters. "Well, I don't know what's trickling down, but it's not a pleasant experience for the middle class. Instead, money is extracted up."

The Obama administration's birth control mandate took effect Wednesday, granting an estimated 47 million women access to free contraception and a raft of preventive health services.

As of Aug. 1, new or renewing health insurance plans are required to provide birth control to women at no out-of-pocket cost. Houses of worship are exempt and religious nonprofits get a one-year reprieve, as well as the option to pass the cost to the insurance company.

The administration established the much-ballyhooed rule, authorized under the Affordable Care Act and drawing upon recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, on the grounds that improved access to preventive health services prevents illnesses and saves money.

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Since taking over the House, GOP conservatives have routinely used must-pass bills as a vehicle to achieve policy goals. But despite spending months charging toward another government shutdown threat when funding expires on Sept. 30, right-wing members now appear to be willing to temporarily accept the status quo in order to protect the party's hopes on Election Day.

A tentative deal announced Tuesday by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) would fund the government for six months at levels under existing law. A vote is slated for September.

"There was a drive inside conservatives who wanted six months instead of three months," said House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who has close ties to the GOP's right flank. "I don't think there was ever a debate whether we'd get to a [continuing resolution]."

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