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

Since it cleared a key subcommittee last week, three new House Democrats have cosponsored GOP legislation to repeal President Obama's Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a panel enacted in the health care reform law to scale back Medicare spending in the long run.

Reps. Mike Ross (D-AR) and Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) signed on Friday, and Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO) inked his support Monday, according to the office of Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN), the bill's chief sponsor.

Republicans will continue to move the IPAB repeal bill this week, and it has enough votes to pass the House. Here's the backstory on why Republicans want to eliminate the panel, and why Democrats are skittish about it.

In a speech Sunday to the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), President Obama emphatically restated his commitment to protecting Israel and preventing Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon -- and, anticipating GOP attacks in the near future, he took the liberty to rebut criticisms of his foreign policy toward the Jewish state as well as Iran.

"If during this political season you hear some questions regarding my administration's support for Israel, remember that it's not backed up by the facts," Obama told the AIPAC crowd. "And remember that the US-Israel relationship is simply too important to be distorted by partisan politics."

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Republican strategist Mike Murphy said Sunday on NBC's Meet The Press that the primary is alienating independent voters and that the establishment is eager to pick a nominee and move on to the general election.

After Virginia, Murphy predicted, Romney will "be in a pretty commanding place in the nomination. And on behalf of the Republican establishment, it's about damn time. We want this thing to get over, because we see those independent voters eroding as we scare the hell out of them with the histrionics of our primary."

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) will address AIPAC on Monday, one day after President Obama made a speech to the American-Israeli group, according to his office.

Cantor, the only Jewish Republican in Congress, is expected to deliver his remarks at 1:00 pm ET.

Mitt Romney is facing a barrage of conservative attacks after it was revealed late Friday that he wrote a July 2009 op-ed in USA Today calling on President Obama to adopt an individual mandate requiring Americans to buy health insurance, the provision that Republicans today despise and which Romney says he virulently opposes on a federal level.

In the piece, however, Romney urged Obama to "learn a thing or two" from his Massachusetts plan that contained the same mandate, and made the case for it. "First, we established incentives for those who were uninsured to buy insurance," Romney wrote. "Using tax penalties, as we did, or tax credits, as others have proposed, encourages 'free riders' to take responsibility for themselves rather than pass their medical costs on to others."

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The Associated Press reports:

NEW YORK (AP) – The FBI is considering whether to open an investigation into allegations that followers of a New York City rabbi made illegal campaign contributions to U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm, according to a law enforcement official.

Followers of Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto, an influential figure in Israel with a headquarters in Manhattan, raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Grimm when he first ran for office in 2010, according to campaign records. Some donors have since said that they broke rules to donate more cash to the Republican's campaign than allowed by law.

Former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) recently told Roll Call's John Stanton that he contacted that FBI in the fall of 2010 that Grimm had tried to extort money from Pinto. According to the story published Friday, Weiner said he reached out to the FBI after Pinto made him aware of this early that fall.

Appearing Sunday on NBC's "Meet The Press," DNC chair and Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz pressed the Democrats' message that the GOP push to roll back the Obama administration's birth control mandate amounts to forcing a woman to surrender her health care decisions to her boss.

"Republicans actually want to go much farther than just saying women shouldn't have access to contraception," Wasserman Schultz said. "They want to say that bosses should be able to decide what kind of access to health care women should have."

She criticized the GOP's Blunt amendment that would permit employers to omit health insurance coverage of contraception as well as other health care services that they have a moral objection to. The measure narrowly failed in the Senate last week, but GOP leaders have vowed to keep up the fight.

On ABC's This Week, conservative commentator Peggy Noonan strongly denounced Rush Limbaugh's defamatory remarks about Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke.

"What Rush Limbaugh said was crude, rude, even piggish, it was just unacceptable, he ought to be called on it," Noonan said Sunday. "I'm glad he has apologized. I guess there will be a debate now about the nature of the apology. But what he said was also destructive."

She added: "It confused the issue. It played into this trope that the Republicans have a war on women. No, they don't, but he made it look they that way. It confused the larger issue which is the real issue, which is 'Obamacare,' and its incursions against religious freedoms, which is a serious issue. It was not about this young lady at Georgetown."

One day after Rush Limbaugh apologized for smearing Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) repudiated the radio host's remarks calling her a "slut."

"You know David, Rush Limbaugh has apologized," Cantor said Sunday on NBC's Meet The Press. "I don't condone that language in any arena, including the political arena..."

Host David Gregory interrupted to ask, "You think he was dead wrong."

"It was -- yes, it was insulting, and Rush has said as much."

President Obama told an AIPAC crowd Sunday that there is "too much loose talk of war" with Iran, and that that kind of "bluster" will not advance Israel's or America's security interests.

An excerpt from his speech:

Moving forward, I would ask that we all remember the weightiness of these issues; the stakes involved for Israel, for America, and for the world. Already there is too much loose talk of war. Over the last few weeks, such talk has only benefited the Iranian government, by driving up the price of oil, which they depend upon to fund their nuclear program.  For the sake of Israel’s security, America’s security, and the peace and security of the world, now is not the time for bluster; now is the time to let our increased pressure sink in, and to sustain the broad international coalition that we have built. Now is the time to heed that timeless advice from Teddy Roosevelt: speak softly, but carry a big stick.  As we do, rest assured that the Iranian government will know our resolve, and that our coordination with Israel will continue.

Obama said all options remain on the table, including military force, but the priority should be a diplomatic and economic effort to isolate Iran, monitor its nuclear program, and impose sanctions to prevent the nation from building a weapon.