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Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Members of the House Ways and Means Committee, with Chairman Kevin Brady's blessing, introduced a handful of bills today that would delay some of the Affordable Care Act's taxes and temporilty lift the employer mandate.

Why this matters: Insurers and medical device manufacturers have been lobbying hard for Congress to freeze the ACA's taxes on their products. But introducing a bill doesn't mean it will become law, and next steps aren't yet clear.

Here's what the bills would do:

  • 5-year pause of the medical device tax
  • Pause the health insurance tax in 2018 only for insurer that provide customers with a premium rebate; then in 2019 for all insurers
  • 2-year pause of health insurance tax for plans regulated by Puerto Rico
  • Retroactively lifts the employer mandate for the last three years, as well as over the next year, paired with a one-year delay of the tax on especially generous "Cadillac" health plans (currently set to go into effect in 2020).
  • Temporarily left a ban on using health savings accounts to pay for over-the-counter medicine

Key quote: "I look forward to continuing this work and advancing legislation in the weeks ahead," Brady said.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
6 mins ago - Technology

Doomsday Clock stays at 100 seconds to midnight

Robert Rosner, left, and Suzet McKinney reveal the 2021 setting of the Doomsday Clock. Photo: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists/Thomas Gaulkin

In its annual update on Wednesday morning, scientists announced the Doomsday Clock would be kept at 100 seconds to midnight.

Why it matters: The decision to keep the clock hands steady — tied for the closest it has ever been to midnight in the clock's 74-year history — reflects a picture of progress on climate change and politics undercut by growing threats from infectious disease and disruptive technologies.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden to sign major climate orders, setting up clash with oil industry

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden will sign new executive actions today that provide the clearest signs yet of his climate plans — elevating the issue to a national security priority and kicking off an intense battle with the oil industry.

Driving the news: One move will freeze issuance of new oil-and-gas leases on public lands and waters "to the extent possible," per a White House summary.

The rebellion against Silicon Valley (the place)

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Smith Collection/Gado via Getty Images

Silicon Valley may be a "state of mind," but it's also very much a real enclave in Northern California. Now, a growing faction of the tech industry is boycotting it.

Why it matters: The Bay Area is facing for the first time the prospect of losing its crown as the top destination for tech workers and startups — which could have an economic impact on the region and force it to reckon with its local issues.