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The IRS building. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

You didn't expect to hear the Trump administration accused of tough ACA enforcement, right? But a group of business associations says it's relying on an "unlawful and deeply flawed process" to enforce the ACA's employer mandate.

The issue: The IRS has begun sending out notices to businesses that it believes owe fines for failing to comply with the mandate. The tax agency has said some 30,000 employers are on the hook for a total of roughly $4.3 billion in fines.

The other side: A coalition of employer groups, including the National Restaurant Association and the National Retail Federation, say the administration is breaking the rules.

  • The text of the ACA and its implementing regulations say that employers should receive a notice from HHS if they're believed to be in violation of the employer mandate. But the current round of notices is coming from the IRS — which "manifestly is not the notice required by ACA," the critics charge.
  • They're asking the administration to stop enforcing the coverage requirement "until the mandate can be fully repealed."

Go deeper

13 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 15 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.