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

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) said Sunday that 'Obamacare' should be repealed because the rights of individuals come from God.

"I think this at the end of the day is a big philosophy difference," Ryan told ABC's "This Week." "We disagree with the notion that our rights come from government, that the government can now grant us and define our rights. Those are ours, they come from nature and God, according to the Declaration of Independence -- a huge difference in philosophy."

Republicans are seizing on the Supreme Court's decision to uphold 'Obamacare' under Congress's taxing power to accuse Democrats of raising taxes on the middle class. But they're finding it difficult to square that with the fact that their presidential nominee enacted the same concept as governor of Massachusetts.

Although Mitt Romney has vowed to repeal 'Obamacare', his 2006 law includes the same core elements, including the mandate to purchase insurance or pay a fine. In 2009, Romney wrote in a USA Today op-ed that he used "tax penalties" to achieve the objective of broadening coverage.

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U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts' swing vote to uphold 'Obamacare' under Congress's taxing powers has drawn praise from his usual critics. One top Democratic senator lauded Roberts' "judicial independence" in saving President Obama's signature law, but also argued that the Bush-appointed jurist broke his promise by narrowing the scope of the Commerce Clause.

In his opinion, Roberts explained in detail why he believes his view is not inconsistent with precedent, siding with conservative architects of the legal challenge in the argument that Congress may not regulate inaction.

"In my view it certainly merited upholding under the Commerce Clause," said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), his party's leader on messaging. "I do worry, in the future, about the courts limiting the Commerce Clause as a way of limiting the ability of the federal government to help average families."

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House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on Sunday did not rule out including some parts of 'Obamacare' in a potential replacement plan, although he emphatically stated his commitment to repealing the entire law first.

On CBS' Face The Nation, he was asked if he believes there's "anything good" in the law.

"Well there's always going to be parts of it that are good," Boehner said. "But when you look at the 2,700 pages that no one read, and you know, remember, Nancy Pelosi said well we have to pass this before we know what's in it. Republicans are not going to go down that path."

Boehner said he supports the provision letting Americans under 26 years old to remain on a parent's insurance policy, pointing out that some insurance companies have opted to keep that provision regardless.

He declined to elaborate on how specifically Republicans would prefer to address health care, saying several times that the party will take a "common sense, step by step approach."

The Affordable Care Act, he said, "has to be ripped out by its roots" so Congress can "start over."

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said Sunday that while he was surprised by the Supreme Court's ruling, it only makes his party more determined to repeal 'Obamacare.'

"All it really does is strengthen my resolve -- and resolve of the Republicans here in Washington -- to repeal this awful law," he said on CBS' Face The Nation.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) argued Fox News Sunday that the Supreme Court opinion on the health care law opens the door for the Senate to repeal the individual mandate with 51 votes, as opposed to 60. 

"Look, reconciliation is available because the Supreme Court has now declared it a tax," he said. "They have unearthed the massive deception that was practiced by the president and the Democrats, constantly denying that it was a tax. … The chief justice has made it clear -- it's a tax. And as a tax it is eligible for reconciliation."

"Now the American people will have the final decision and I'm confident they'll give us the votes to repeal it."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told Fox News Sunday that the Supreme Court ruling means the health care reform law is "a middle class tax increase."

But the GOP leader dodged several questions about whether Mitt Romney's similar health care mandate in Massachusetts is a tax.

"Well I think Gov. Romney will have to speak for himself about what was done in Massachusetts," McConnell said. "I can tell you that every single Democratic senator voted for this tax increase."

White House chief of staff Jack Law pointed out on Fox News Sunday that Mitt Romney enacted a health care law broadly similar to 'Obamacare.'

"When he was governor of Massachusetts, Gov. Romney put a plan in place that has many of the features that the Affordable Care Act makes available on a national basis," he said.

Lew said now that the Supreme Court has upheld the law, it's time to move on and accept it.

On Fox News Sunday, White House chief of staff Jack Lew was repeatedly grilled on whether President Obama concedes that the health care law's individual mandate amounts to a tax hike on the middle class.

Lew pushed back on the contention and argued that the fine for not purchasing insurance will apply to "very few" people. "This penalty says you cannot be a free-rider," he said.

"It was set up and it was not called a tax," Lew added. "But there are powers that Congress has and you can justify a law in multiple ways. The court took that route. It is a penalty. It was defined as a penalty in the law. And it's something that people choose whether or not to be subject to."

The fallout from the Supreme Court's historic ruling Thursday upholding the health care reform law clarified a key distinction between the two parties. Republicans reaffirmed their commitment to turning back the clock and Democrats insisted on letting go of past battles and moving on.

"The Supreme Court has spoken. The matter is settled," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). "With millions of Americans still struggling in this tough economy, we can't look back. We need to look forward."

"Now that all three branches of government have ratified the law, the time for quarreling is over. The time for disputing its validity is over," said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY). "Congress should now return to its full time focus: the issue of jobs and the economy."

"Politics be damned, this is about what we came to do," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

Republican sang a different tune, reaffirming their commitment to repealing 'Obamacare' and announcing they will hold yet another vote to do so.

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