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

A bipartisan Senate duo wrote a letter Tuesday calling on House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to hold a vote on the upper chamber's version of the Violence Against Women Act re-authorization. Boehner's office promptly declined the request but said the House stands ready to go to conference to resolve the differences between the chambers' bills.

The upshot: The measure remains in limbo, and Democrats will have a harder time including the expanded provisions aimed at protecting gay victims, illegal immigrants and Native Americans in the final version.

Read More →

In a surprising move, three of the nation's largest health insurance companies said Monday that they will voluntarily offer several popular benefits in 'Obamacare' even if the law is struck down by the Supreme Court later this month.

UnitedHealthcare, Humana and Aetna say they will continue to let young adults remain on a parent's plan until age 26 and to provide preventive health services without co-pays, whatever the verdict is on the law. UnitedHealthcare and Humana, but not Aetna, also vowed to eliminate lifetime dollar limits on insurance policies and to stop canceling policies unless the policyholder engaged in fraud.

What no insurer agreed to do: guarantee coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Read More →

Ahead of the looming expiration of the Bush tax cuts, an influential activist known for enforcing GOP anti-tax absolutism is reinterpreting his famous pledge, making it harder for Republicans to compromise in a way that ultimately raises federal revenues.

All but a handful of congressional Republicans have signed -- and strictly adhered to -- Grover Norquist's pledge to "oppose any and all efforts" to raise taxes or revenues. But the White House's insistence that President Obama will veto attempts to extend all of the Bush tax cuts creates a new incentive for Republicans to cut a deal with Democrats after the election. For that reason, Norquist is insisting on an interpretation of his pledge in which failing to prevent a tax increase -- or even voting to partially cut a lapsed rate -- would constitute a violation.

"I think the American people would look at anything that raised taxes from where they are today to be a tax increase," Norquist told TPM Monday. "Everybody knows this has been coming."

Read More →

Jeb Bush's remark that Ronald Reagan would be too moderate for today's Republican Party earned an aggressive rebuke from the gatekeeper of the anti-tax orthodoxy that permeates the modern GOP.

"That's foolish," Grover Norquist, the architect of the bedrock never-raise-taxes pledge that nearly every Republican has signed, told TPM in an interview. "It's stup--it's bizarre."

"There's a guy who watched his father throw away his presidency on a 2:1 [ratio of spending cuts to tax increases] promise," Norquist said of Bush. "And he thinks he's sophisticated by saying that he'd take a 10:1 promise. He doesn't understand -- he's just agreed to walk down the same alley his dad did with the same gang. And he thinks he's smart. You walk down that alley, you don't come out. You certainly don't come out with 2:1 or 10:1."

Read More →

The worst-kept secret on Capitol Hill is that neither party expects major legislation to pass before the election. The agenda is instead being driven by messaging imperatives aimed at appealing to key voting blocs that could swing the outcome on Election Day.

To that end, Democrats have worked hard to paint Republicans as hostile to the interests of women, Hispanics and young voters -- and the GOP is hoping to contain or reverse the damage without aggravating conservatives in their base.

Read More →

MSNBC host Dylan Ratigan is leaving the network, he told the New York Times.

“Once you’ve said your piece, you can either keep saying it — and then it’s a job, good job, pays well, everybody knows your name, it’s great — or you can decide what you’re going to do about it,” Ratigan told the paper. “And the answer is, I don’t know. But I do know, in order to figure it out, I have to dismount.”

His 4 P.M. slot will be reportedly be taken over by current 3 P.M. host Martin Bashir.

Two top surrogates said Sunday that Mitt Romney cannot defeat President Obama in November simply by attacking him, and needs to run on a strong vision of his own.

Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) agreed when asked if his party's presidential nominee "needs to offer a bold, affirmative agenda" in order to win.

"The American people will rightly, I think, demand to know something more than he's not President Obama," Daniels said. "He's got to use this fall as an opportunity to build a consensus across, I hope, a broad spectrum of Americans to make the big changes we need. ... He better have an affirmative, constructive message, and one of hope."

Read More →

As job growth slows and the nation lurches closer to a major economic contraction, a top House progressive says he sees no evidence that Republicans are open to a fiscal compromise to avoid that outcome.

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told TPM at the Netroots Nation conference that the alarming economic news of late isn't waking House Republicans up to the fact that a compromise on taxes and spending will be necessary to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.

"No, I'm not seeing any relent from them," Ellison said Saturday afternoon. "I see them demanding that their agenda be adopted and not much movement in terms of compromise. I don't see them compromising."

Publicly, House Republicans aren't ceding an inch on taxes.

Read More →

Addressing President Obama's gaffe about the private sector Friday, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) said Sunday that Obama was trying to point out the public sector employement has fallen dramatically in comparison.

He also said the president is right to go after Mitt Romney's job creation record.

"I think that President Obama absolutely needs to take away the false assertions of Mitt Romney that he created jobs in the private sector or in Massachusetts," O'Malley said on CBS' "Face The Nation."

Gov. Scott Walker (R) said Sunday that his recall victory last Tuesday signals that the traditionally blue Wisconsin is "in play" for Mitt Romney this November.

"Well, I think it's up in the air. I think it's definitely in play," Walker said on CBS' Face The Nation. "You know, six months ago I think the White House had it firmly in their column. I think it is up in the air. But I think it's really very much left up to Republican or conservative voters, but to those swing voters who again elected me by a larger margin than they did two years ago."