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

After having to yank their border crisis legislation, House Republicans scrambled on Friday morning to coalesce around a largely symbolic new proposal which spends $694 million and significantly toughens up laws against young undocumented immigrants and children coming from Central America.

Emerging from a meeting, many Republicans expressed confidence they'll have the votes to pass the legislation on Friday — including Reps. Steve King (R-IA) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN), two previous holdouts, who said the new bill would rein in President Barack Obama's current and future actions to ease deportations for undocumented immigrants.

"This House is going to make a resounding statement today that says, 'Stop, Mr. President. Don't violate the Constitution,'" King said.

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A chaotic House Republican conference decided on Thursday to delay the start of the August recess until they muster the votes for legislation to address the border crisis.

"We'll stay until we vote," Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) told reporters upon emerging from a full House GOP meeting that lasted more than one and a half hour.

The meeting was called after Republican leaders abruptly pulled their $659 million supplemental legislation, which also toughened up border security laws, ahead of a scheduled vote Thursday. The decision was made in the face of strong opposition from conservatives. Some on the right — including Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL) — griped the plan didn't do enough to rein in President Barack Obama's executive actions on deportations.

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House Republican leaders abruptly pulled their border supplemental legislation prior to a scheduled vote on Thursday, a sign that they lacked the votes to pass it. It appeared members would go home for recess without acting, a situation that GOP leaders wanted to avoid.

Immigration-weary conservatives said the $659 million supplemental, and the subsequent measure to end the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, didn't go far enough in rebuking the president's actions.

It was a remarkable defeat for the new GOP leadership team on the day that Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) stepped down as majority leader.

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Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) took another swipe at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for suggesting that the House border crisis bill may be used as a vehicle for bicameral conference negotiations on comprehensive immigration reform.

"Instead of addressing the crisis at hand Senate Democrats are talking up some nutso scheme to jam through the Senate immigration bill, even though they know it will never happen," he told reporters on Thursday, repeating that the House won't consider the Senate-passed immigration legislation no matter the context.

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Short of votes to pass their border supplemental, House Republicans scrambled on Wednesday night to avoid having to go home without acting to address the crisis of some 57,000 unaccompanied minors at the southern border within the last year.

Seeking to placate conservatives, GOP leaders opted to set up a two-prong vote for Thursday. The first is on their $659 million border supplemental bill which also toughens border laws. If that passes, there'll be a vote after that to end the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, created by executive order in 2012.

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House Republicans officially gave Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) their seal of approval on Wednesday to sue President Barack Obama, marking the first time in U.S. history that a chamber of Congress has endorsed a lawsuit against a president.

The House adopted the resolution by a vote of 225-201. Five Republicans joined a unanimous Democratic conference to vote against the measure. They were Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY), Walter Jones (R-NC), Paul Broun (R-GA), Steve Stockman (R-TX) and Scott Garrett (R-NJ).

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The White House formally threatened to veto House Republicans' border funding supplemental for the child migrant crisis, saying it "could make the situation worse, not better."

The proposal includes $659 million in new funds to speedily process the estimated 57,000 undocumented minors apprehended at the border in recent months. It also makes numerous changes to immigration laws which the White House said would "undercut due process for vulnerable children" and potentially threaten their lives.

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Senate Democrats' emergency funding bill for the humanitarian crisis at the southern border cleared an initial procedural hurdle on Wednesday.

The chamber voted 66-33 to begin debate on the legislation, achieving the 60 needed to break a filibuster and move the bill forward.

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