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Wheels Coming Off the Obamacare Repeal Train

David has posts below pulling together the evening's rapid fire developments in the Senate, where Republican defections now appear to have at least delayed Obamacare repeal. This isn't out of nowhere. A growing number of Senate Republicans have been expressing skepticism about "repeal and delay" for some time now - even though it's been largely ignored in much of the press. There was an initial flurry of calls for delay just after the election. They were were batted down by the leadership in the House and Senate. But they've been bubbling up over the last week.

There was Susan Collins, Rand Paul and even Tom Cotton, who we mentioned on Friday. Then today Lamar Alexander again expressed his opposition (he did so in November too). Alexander is the Chair of the key health care committee in the Senate. Then came Bob Corker saying not to repeal the Obamacare taxes before there was a replacement (a key point we'll get to below). And then late this evening five senators - Portman, Corker, Collins, Cassidy and Murkowski - introduced an amendment that that would force at least a one month delay before Obamacare can be repealed.

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Wait, There's More!

Five GOP senators have broken ranks and are now pushing to delay Obamacare repeal by more than month to allow more time to come up with a replacement plan.

Tennessee Two-Stepping

A potentially very important development this evening on the Obamacare repeal front, as TPM's Lauren Fox reports. HELP Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), a key figure in internal GOP wrangling over repeal and eventual (if ever?) replacement, told reporters on the Hill that Obamacare repeal should come after a replacement is in place and "available" to consumers.

At the same time and in a similar vein, Alexander's fellow Tennesseean, Bob Corker, was expressing his frustration that repeal as planned would wipe out the tax revenue to pay for an Obamacare replacement.

Just to emphasize the point: these comments, especially Alexander's, are very much at odds with the McConnell-Ryan plan for immediate repeal.

This Chart May Stun You (Or Not)

The statistics covering American manufacturing are complex. American manufacturing is by many metrics doing great. It's American manufacturing jobs which have declined steeply. That's a result of international competition but even more automation. Most of us know this broad story. What most don't know is how recent the drop is.

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Obamacare's Barbed Hook

Philip Klein has an important piece on the politics of Obamacare repeal in The Washington Examiner. It's dressed up with a lot of digs at the law and the promises which were made on its behalf - not all of which are unfair. But the key point he makes is very much on the mark. Republicans are going to have a very hard time with Obamacare repeal as long as they claim that no one will lose their coverage in the process.

Klein puts it this way.

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