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President Trump announced a handful of religious-liberty measures. Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

The Trump administration will immediately roll back the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate, broadening exemptions for employers who have a religious or moral objection to helping provide birth control to their employees.

What's happening: Churches and some religious organizations have always been exempt from the contraception mandate, but the Trump administration is broadening the exemptions to all nonprofit organizations as well as for-profit companies, including publicly traded corporations.

Key points: These are broad exemptions.

  • Allowing exemptions based on a "moral" objection is a big step. Previous exemptions and carve-outs were limited to employers' religious beliefs.
  • When the Supreme Court ruled that Hobby Lobby should be able to get an exemption from the mandate, it limited its decision to companies that are closely controlled by a few people. Hobby Lobby, for example, already closed on Sundays and otherwise reflected the faith of its owners. These new rules will allow any company to seek an exemption.

The background: The ACA requires employers to include certain preventive services — including contraception — in their employees' health care plans, without copays or other forms of cost-sharing. Churches have always been exempt. The Supreme Court also allowed an exemption for closely held corporations whose owners have a religious objection to contraception.

The Obama administration had tried to work out a middle ground for other "religious-affiliated" employers, but they said that process was still an encroachment on their religious liberty.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
23 mins ago - Economy & Business

GM's shrinking deal with Nikola

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

General Motors will no longer take an equity stake in Nikola Corp. or build its pickup truck, under a revised deal that still envisions GM as a key tech supplier for Nikola's planned line of electric and fuel cell heavy trucks.

Driving the news: The revised agreement Monday is smaller in scope than a draft partnership rolled out in September that had included a $2 billion stake in the startup and an agreement to build its Badger pickup.

1 hour ago - Technology

Exclusive: Facebook's blackout didn't dent political ad reach

Photo: Valera Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Americans saw more political ads on Facebook in the week before the 2020 election than they did the prior week despite the company's blackout on new political ads during that period, according to Global Witness, a human rights group that espouses tech regulation.

Why it matters: The presidential election was a key stress test for Facebook and other leading online platforms looking to prove that they can curb misinformation. Critics contend measures like the ad blackout barely made a dent.

Wall Street wonders how bad it has to get

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Wall Street is working out how bad the economy will have to get for Congress to feel motivated to move on economic support.

Why it matters: A pre-Thanksgiving data dump showed more evidence of a floundering economic recovery. But the slow drip of crumbling economic data may not be enough to push Washington past a gridlock to halt the economic backslide.