A top Treasury official on Wednesday defended the decision to delay ObamaCare’s employer mandate in the administration’s first appearance before Congress on the issue.

J. Mark Iwry, the Treasury Department’s deputy assistant secretary for retirement and health policy, characterized the delay as “transition relief” for businesses under heavy criticism from Republicans.

“Treasury made the decision that employers’ requests for more time to comply with the reporting requirements were valid,” Iwry told the House Ways and Means health subcommittee.

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