GRAHAM-CASSIDY REPEAL BILL DEADLINE:

Time: D H M S

A handful of Republican Senators (and Representatives??) come to their senses...for now.

Don't get excited yet. This isn't remotely settled yet, and even if the GOP backs off now, there's no reason to think they won't be back in full force a few months down the road.

Having said that, this evening does have some positive news on the GOP repeal front:

GOP Senators Propose Delay On O'Care Repeal To Work Out Replacement

After publicly airing some of their grievances with the GOP's current strategy of repealing Obamacare without a replacement plan, a handful of Republican senators put their concerns in legislative writing. Five senators on Monday evening introduced a measure that would delay the next steps on repealing the Affordable Care Act by more than a month. The senators, in their statements accompanying the provision, said the delay would buy Congress more time to work out of the the details of a replacement.

Normally this would be the point where I'd make fun of them for once again admitting that after having seven years to come up with a better alternative, the GOP is now promising to come up with something if we just give them one more month. However, under the circumstances, I'll accept their showing some amount of basic sanity and decency, even if it's a temporary measure.

In contrast, the amendment introduced Monday evening would extend that deadline until March 3.

As cautiously optimistic as the news from the Senate side is, my eyebrow rose even more when I read what's up on the House side:

On the House side, rank and file members have expressed a desire to slow the process as well. After a meeting Monday evening at Tortilla Coast, a restaurant near the Capitol, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), the chair of the House Freedom Caucus, said that there was an "overwhelming consensus" among the group of conservative hardliners that they'd like to see more specifics about the plan to repeal and replace Obamacare before voting on the budget resolution, which is expected to be up for a vote in the House this week.

As a reminder, the "House Freedom Caucus" mostly consists of the nuttiest of the nutcases....the die-hard Tea Party types. These are the guys who've been screaming for Obamacare to be repealed the loudest for up to 7 years now...and I believe they're mostly in solidly red districts. If they're taking pause, that means a lot.

Having said that, as Dan Diamond has noted:

In 2009-2010, Obamacare lived and died a thousand times. The GOP is hitting some real bumps, but too early to say that repeal is dead.

— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) January 10, 2017

Would love to see Venn diagram of people who wrote "TRUMP CAN'T WIN" articles last year + "REPEAL IS DEAD" articles tonight.

— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) January 10, 2017

Meanwhile, Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee threw quite a few great quotes out there:

Proponents of the simultaneous strategy said it would be helpful for Trump to be more forthcoming about what he wants. He’s almost certain to be asked about the matter at a news conference on Wednesday.

“If it is his view, it would be really good if he would consider tweeting it out very clearly,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who supports having a replacement in hand alongside repeal.

Apparently Donald Trump is some sort of mysterious spirit who can only communicate by tea leaves, goat entrails or a Ouija board. "GIVE US A SIGN, O LORD! WE BESEECH THEE!!"

Corker said he will offer legislation to delay the current date of an Obamacare repeal bill via the budget reconciliation procedure from Jan. 27 until March 3, to give the party more time to craft a health care plan.

“There’s more and more concerns about not doing it simultaneously,” Corker said. “You would think after six years we would have a pretty good sense of what we would like to do.”

Why yes, Senator Corker...you would think that, wouldn't you?

You'd be wrong, of course...but you'd think that would be the case.

Stay tuned...