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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

Torture architects were paid $81 million by the CIA. Harsh interrogation techniques, portrayed in "Zero Dark Thirty" as helping the U.S. hunt down Osama bin Laden, didn't actually lead to his capture. And then-Secretary of State Colin Powell was not briefed on torture because the White House feared he would "blow his stack."

These are some more jaw-dropping revelations, along with what TPM reported earlier, contained in the 525-page report released Tuesday by Senate Democrats about the CIA's torture program during the Bush administration.

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The federal government runs out of funding in two days and Congress still doesn't have a bill to prevent that from happening.

Congressional leaders are scrambling to extend the Dec. 11 midnight deadline while they hammer out the details of the "CRomnibus" — a combined omnibus to fund most of government through September, and a continuing resolution (or CR) to keep the immigration-enforcing Department of Homeland Security on a short leash through March.

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Senate Democrats released a long-anticipated report on Tuesday about the CIA torture program that began and ended during the Bush administration, which Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) called "morally, legally and administratively misguided."

"History will judge us by our commitment to a just society governed by law and willingness to face the truth and say, never again," she said.

Here are five key points made in the report.

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Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) objected to the release of the CIA torture report by Senate Democrats on Tuesday, suggesting that it would harm national security.

McConnell said in a joint statement with Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), the ranking member of the intelligence committee.

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The Republican-led House passed a bill on Thursday to block President Barack Obama's sweeping executive actions on immigration.

It passed on a mostly party-line vote of 219 to 197.

Three Democrats voted yes: Reps. John Barrow (GA), Mike McIntyre (NC) and Collin Peterson (MN). Seven Republicans voted no: Reps. Mike Coffman (CO), Jeff Denham (CA), Mario Diaz-Balart (FL), Louie Gohmert (TX), Ilena Ros-Lehtinen (FL), Marlin Stutzman (IN) and David Valadao (CA). Three Republicans voted present: Reps. Paul Gosar (AZ), Steve King (IA) and Raul Labrador (ID).

The bill is a carrot for conservatives upset about Obama's unilateral move to temporarily shield more than 4 million immigrants from deportation. It comes ahead of a planned vote next week to keep the federal government funded and avert a shutdown on Dec. 11 when money is scheduled to run out.

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Against the wishes of some conservatives, Speaker John Boehner announced on Thursday that the House will move forward with a strategy to avoid a government shutdown next week and at least temporarily let President Barack Obama implement his sweeping executive actions on immigration.

Boehner said he expects his plan to pass with "bipartisan support."

The Ohio Republican's two-part strategy is to pass essentially a symbolic bill by Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) this week to disapprove of Obama's executive actions (in order to appease conservatives), and to pass a "CRomnibus" next week — an omnibus spending bill through September, combined with a stopgap continuing resolution to fund the federal department that implements immigration law through March.

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Former Republican Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott said Thursday that his party should work with Democrats to fix Obamacare if the Supreme Court rules to invalidate premium tax credits on the federally-run insurance exchange.

"I would think they should work at that," the Mississippian, who's now a lobbyist for Patton Boggs, told reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, arguing that technical corrections to major legislation are routine. "Almost always on big bills we’d have technical corrections."

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