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Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at

Articles by Tom Howell Jr.

** FILE ** In this file photo taken June 14, 2014, incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor rides the the Pink Tomato Festival parade as he campaigns in Warren, Ark. Pryor is being challenged by Republican Congressman Tom Cotton in a campaign that began about one year ago. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)

Sen. Mark Pryor releases a rare pro-Obamacare ad

Sen. Mark Pryor's re-election campaign released an ad Wednesday that touts a part of Obamacare — a rarity among Democrats hoping to stave off attacks derived from the law's negative headlines and poor polling numbers. Published August 20, 2014

This 24 March, 2006 photo shows US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax forms. The deadline for filing federal income-tax returns is 17 April, 2006 this year, because the normal deadline of 15 April falls on a Saturday.   AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER

(Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

Obamacare tax forms may pose challenge for enrollees, exchanges

Obamacare customers won't be able to file their tax returns next year until the government sends them a form detailing their coverage and tax credits, and if those forms are late some taxpayers could face a delay in seeking their refunds. Published August 20, 2014

** FILE ** Michael Wilson, left, a certified Cover California insurance agent, explains a health insurance plan to Jose Gomez and his wife, Laura, at a registration site hosted by Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers, Monday, March 31, 2014, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Obamacare suffers bad news on cost, tax fronts

The Obamacare program got a double dose of bad news Tuesday as a federal watchdog reported its tax on medical devices is bringing in less money than expected, while a Federal Reserve study warned that many private companies expect to see their health costs soar because of the president's signature health law. Published August 19, 2014

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's campaign is hitting Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes for renting a bus acquired by her father's company for less than what other similar services would charge. (Associated Press)

Grimes takes heat over family discount on bus

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's campaign is hitting Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes for renting a bus acquired by her father's company for less than what other similar services would charge — a discrepancy legal experts say could be considered an illegal in-kind contribution. Published August 19, 2014

While Democratic Sen. Mark L. Pryor voted for the Affordable Care Act, his campaign ads in Arkansas focus on attacking Republican opponent Tom Cotton's position on Medicare. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

Democrats ignore gains in coverage under Obamacare

Arkansas and Kentucky have been Southern pioneers in rolling out Obamacare and getting their residents covered this year, but Democratic Senate candidates in those states aren't boasting about it in their campaign ads. Published August 18, 2014

FILE - In this April 1, 2014, file photo, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. President Barack Obama scored a rare win in his 5-year-old campaign to close the federal prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as a Senate panel approved giving him the authority to transfer terror suspects to the United States if Congress signs off on a comprehensive plan to shutter the facility. Levin hailed the defense bill provision as a significant change in the long standoff between the Obama administration and bipartisan congressional opponents over the post-Sept. 11 prison for terror suspects. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, File)

Top Dem vows review of police access to military equipment

The top Senate Democrat overseeing the military said Friday that Congress will reexamine the programs that allow state and local authorities to buy or borrow military equipment, as the backlash against heavily armed and armored police grows. Published August 15, 2014

**FILE** Marilyn B. Tavenner (Associated Press)

Administration urges Obamacare customers to update citizenship data

The Obama administration pleaded with more than 300,000 Obamacare customers Tuesday to fix inconsistent citizenship or immigration data they submitted to the government or else risk losing their health coverage by the end of next month. Published August 12, 2014

** FILE ** The exterior of the Internal Revenue Service building in Washington is seen here on March 22, 2013. (Associated Press)

Treasury IG: IRS is reporting accurate data to Obamacare system

The IRS generally is reporting accurate income and family size information to the Obamacare's new insurance exchanges, according to a Treasury audit Tuesday that offers good news to an Obama administration dogged by questions about whether its health care law's systems actually work. Published August 5, 2014

John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned "in the strongest possible terms" the Friday attack that killed two Israeli soldiers and led to the apparent capture of a third, saying it was an "outrageous violation of the cease-fire" negotiated in recent days. Published August 1, 2014

Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire

The spokesman for Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday there is really no debate about who broke a humanitarian cease-fire between his country and the Hamas group on the Palestinian side of the conflict that's been raging over Gaza for days. Published August 1, 2014

** FILE ** House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., pauses during a news conference on the payroll tax cut on Capitol Hill on in this Dec. 22, 2011, file photo taken in Washington. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported early Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, that Cantor says he will step down Aug. 18 to make sure constituents have a voice during the "consequential" lame-duck session. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Eric Cantor to resign Aug. 18

Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has confirmed reports he will be stepping down from Congress later this month. Published August 1, 2014

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in the Oval Office during the President's Daily Economic Briefing on July 30, 2009.  (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

GOP tsunami coming as even Dem-leaning voters bolt: poll

Slightly more Americans identify as Democrat than Republican, but recently history indicates that edge isn't enough to make up for the energy GOP voters will hold this November, according to Gallup. Published August 1, 2014