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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  • They're asking the administration to stop enforcing the coverage requirement "until the mandate can be fully repealed."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

1 hour ago - World

China and Russia vaccinate the world — for now

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

While the U.S. and Europe focus on vaccinating their own populations, China and Russia are sending millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses to countries around the world.

Why it matters: China's double success in controlling its domestic outbreak and producing several viable vaccines has allowed it to focus on providing doses abroad — an effort that could help to save lives across several continents.

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology

Report: China will dominate AI unless U.S. invests more

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photo: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S., which once had a dominant head start in artificial intelligence, now has just a few year's lead on China and risks being overtaken unless government steps in, according to a new report to Congress and the White House.

Why it matters: Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who chaired the committee that issued the report, tells Axios that the U.S. risks dire consequences if it fails to both invest in key technologies and fully integrate AI into the military.

Americans agree about more issues than they realize

Data: Populace Inc.; Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Many Americans assume the rest of the country doesn't share their political and policy priorities — but they're often wrong, according to new polling by Populace, first seen by Axios.

Why it matters: The polling reveals that despite growing political polarization, Americans share similar long-term goals and priorities for the country.