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Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) in the background, in February 2018. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Six Republican senators, five of whom are up for re-election in 2020, sided with Democrats on Thursday in a procedural vote to block the Trump administration from supporting a lawsuit that would dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

Why it matters: The final vote on the motion was 51-43, failing to reach the necessary 60-vote threshold to pass. But the move by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) forced several vulnerable GOP senators to go on the record on whether they support the lawsuit, which could strip protections from pre-existing conditions for millions of Americans.

The state of play: Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) all voted with Democrats and are facing close re-election fights. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) also voted in favor.

  • Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) are facing tough re-election races, but voted against the motion.

Flashback: All six GOP senators who supported Thursday's bill voted for the 2017 tax bill that set the latest Supreme Court challenge to the Affordable Care Act in motion.

Of note: Four of the Republicans to break rank were women — nearly half of the nine female GOP senators in Congress.

  • While Murkowski is not up for re-election until 2022, she opposed President Trump on quickly confirming a Supreme Court judge to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and has publicly opposed the Trump administration on several occasions.

Go deeper

Manchin says he will "absolutely not" support $2,000 stimulus checks as first priority

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) told the Washington Post Friday that he would "absolutely not" support passing a round of $2,000 stimulus checks as a first priority, a key component of President-elect Joe Biden's economic revival plans.

The latest: A spokesperson clarified Manchin's comments after the Post story published Friday, saying the senator is not drawing a red line against $2,000 checks — only that it should be the first priority, as Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has stated.

Dead malls get new life

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Malls are becoming ghosts of retail past. But the left-behind real estate is being reimagined for a post-pandemic world.

Why it matters: As many as 17% of malls in the U.S. "may no longer be viable as shopping centers and need to be redeveloped into other uses," per Barclays.

White House now says Biden will move to increase refugee cap by May 15

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The White House on Friday afternoon said President Biden plans to lift the Trump-era refugee cap by May 15.

Driving the news: The announcement follows stinging criticism from several Democrats and rights groups, who said Biden was walking back on his pledge to raise the limit. Earlier Friday, Biden signed a directive to speed up the processing of refugees, but kept the Trump administration's historically low cap of 15,000 refugees for this year.