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

On CNN's State of the Union Sunday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) discussed the version of the DREAM Act he's in the midst of crafting, and explained that "it allows you to get an immigrant visa through one of the existing visa programs."

Rubio spokesman Alex Conant confirmed to TPM that the senator was referring to a non-immigrant visa, not an immigrant visa.

The distinction is important because an "immigrant visa" is defined by the U.S. government as permanent residency that essentially guarantees citizenship after several years. A "non-immigrant visa" provides temporary legal residency, after which the recipient can seek options for permanent status.

The Democrats' DREAM Act entails the former; Rubio's bill entails the latter.

Conant didn't immediately return a follow-up on which visa category the bill would tap.

On Fox News Sunday, Mitch Daniels downplayed the prospect that he may be Mitt Romney's vice presidential nominee. Host Chris Wallace asked if his family would be warmer about that possibility than they were of running for president.

"We haven't had the conversation and I don't expect to have it," Daniels said. "You know a lot went into that decision not to run [for president]. Very specifically that I promsied the people of my state eight full years, and I like living up to that commitment, showing that it was real. So no, I don't -- I think this is a hypothetical question that will probably stay that way."

Pressed whether he'd accept VP if Romney offered, Daniels said, "I think I would demand reconsideration and send Mr. Romney a list of people I think could suit better." He declined to list any names but said "there's a lot of talent in the Republican Party" and Romney "has a wide range of people to pick from."

Indiana Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, a Mitt Romney supporter who has been rumored as a potential vice presidential pick, says the candidate ought not to make targeted appeals to women and Hispanic voters, but instead can win them over by speaking the "language of unity."

Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace pressed Daniels twice on how Romney can appeal specifically to those groups, given President Obama's strong advantage with them and the problematic policy positions Romney has taken regarding their interests.

"I don't think he has to at all," Daniels responded. "I think that he gives away nothing here with regard to the president, who has been very duplicitous sometimes on this very same subject. But I think he's got to speak the language, honestly, not not of narrow broadcasting -- narrowcasting, let's say -- to individual groups, as much as the language of unity that talks about the issues that unite us all, the threats that menace us all, and try to being Americans together."

Retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) told Fox News Sunday that he won't endorse in the 2012 presidential election.

"I'm going to try something different this year. I'm going to try to stay out of this one," he said with a laugh. "I'm enjoying not being involved in the nastiness of campaigning in America these days."

Lieberman was Al Gore's running mate in 2000, flipped to independent in 2006 and supported John McCain for president in 2008.

Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman (D-CT) told Fox News Sunday he has seen no evidence that national security information was compromised in the Secret Service scandal involving prostitutes.

"The answer I'm going to give is not conclusive, but from everything I've heard up until this point, no evidence that information was compromised," he said.

But Lieberman expressed concern that if Secret Service agents are seen as "acting like a bunch of college kids on spring weekend" while on assignment, "then people who are hostile to the U.S., people who actually want to attack the president of the United States, will begin to take advantage of that vulnerability."

The senator said he still has confidence in Secret Service director Mark Sullivan, who he said "has acted with a sense of urgency and determination" to right the wrongs of what happened in Colombia.

Nine months after the famed deficit negotiations between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner collapsed, the House's top Republican and top Democrat spent a full week sparring over what really happened at that critical July 2011 juncture. With a debt-limit driven economic crisis looming, Obama and Boehner neared a "grand bargain" on taxes and spending only to watch it splinter, then break apart completely at the 11th hour.

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Billed as an effort to aid small businesses, House Republicans passed a broad business tax cut Thursday afternoon, overcoming fire from both the left and right about its meager job-creation potential.

Majority Leader Eric Cantor spearheaded the measure, which passed 235-173, and would allow businesses with fewer than 500 employees to deduct 20 percent of their income, at a revenue cost of $46 billion next year alone. Senate Democrats have rejected it and the White House has threatened a veto.

That's not simply to deny Cantor and the GOP an election-year victory. According to an outside analysis posted on Cantor's website, the expensive tax cut would create some 40,000 jobs in one year. As NPR has calculated, that's upwards of $1 million per job created.

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Exhibit A: Presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney is warning his donors that Republicans must win back Hispanic voters or face "demographic doom."

Exhibit B: House Republicans are pushing policies that disproportionately harm Hispanics.

This study in contrast leaves Republicans on the horns of an election-year dilemma: As they eagerly seek to rebuild bridges with Hispanics, party leaders are simultaneously pushing bills that would make life harder for members of that same community.

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Senate Democratic women are renewing their call for Republicans to drop their opposition to expanded provisions in the Violence Against Women Act re-authorization, painting the GOP into a corner on a red-hot political issue.

Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) held a Capitol press briefing Wednesday to announce that the Democratic-led measure already has 61 cosponsors -- suggesting Republicans lack the votes for a filibuster -- and to lament continued opposition from some Republicans.

"It really is a shame that we've gotten to this point," Murray said, "That we even have to stand here today to urge our colleagues on the other side of the aisle to support legislation that has consistently received broad, bipartisan approval."

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For anyone who paid even passing attention to U.S. politics in 2011, the themes were loud and persistent: Republicans had stormed back into Washington to put an end to excessive government spending and runaway deficits, and would take no prisoners if Democrats stood in their way. The GOP's bravado manifested in a series of partisan clashes over must-pass legislation, and climaxed in near economic calamity when Republicans refused to raise the federal debt limit.

Fast-forward to 2012 -- the GOP's leverage is gone, and the legislative landscape on Capitol Hill has fallowed. Republicans are still running on deficit reduction, but as the election nears, their governing agenda reveals something that close observers recognized all along: Deficit reduction was never the point. Whether acceding to political reality, or proactively moving messaging bills through the House, the GOP has quietly let on that they're fine with deficits -- as long as they come in the right flavors.

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