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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.

"Improving bridges, roads and our infrastructure is critical to our economy, but we're going to need time for the House committees to do their work," Speaker John A. Boehner said before the chamber voted to keep road projects moving through Oct. 29 and to fill a $3.3 billion budget hole at the Department of Veterans Affairs. (Associated Press)

House, Senate look to finalize education reform bill

House and Senate lawmakers hoping to avert a government shutdown, pass a long-term highway bill and vote on Iran's nuclear ambitions this fall are squeezing in another item that has bedeviled Congress for years -- settling on a bipartisan rewrite of the No Child Left Behind education law that can win over the White House. Published September 2, 2015

Tori Reichelderfer, 17, shows her support as Planned Parenthood Action Council holds a community rally at the state Capitol in Salt Lake City on Aug. 25, 2015. Planned Parenthood Association of Utah CEO Karrie Galloway says the demonstration is a protest against Gov. Gary Herbert's decision to stop disbursing federal money to Planned Parenthood. (Leah Hogsten/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP) **FILE**

Planned Parenthood chapters among those receiving new Obamacare grants

Planned Parenthood chapters in Iowa, Missouri and Montana received just over $1 million in federal grant funding Wednesday to help Obamacare customers sign up for coverage, even as Republicans in Congress battle to strip the women's health provider of any federal funding at all amid raging controversy over its abortion practice. Published September 2, 2015

Anti-abortion protesters march by the Supreme Court in Washington on Jan. 22, 2015, during the annual March for Life rally and march to protest the court's landmark 1973 decision that declared a constitutional right to abortion. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Federal judge shields March for Life from Obamacare birth-control rules

A federal judge Monday blocked the Obama administration from enforcing its birth-control mandate on March for Life, a secular nonprofit, saying the anti-abortion group met the same criteria for an exemption as houses of worship that do not have to comply with the Obamacare rule. Published August 31, 2015

Pediatrician Charles Goodman vaccinates 1-year-old Cameron Fierro with the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, or MMR vaccine, at his practice in Northridge, Calif., on Jan. 29, 2015. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Vaccination rates still high after Disneyland outbreak sparked debate: CDC

Months after a Disneyland measles outbreak cast a harsh light on the "anti-vaxx" movement, the Obama administration said Thursday that childhood vaccination rates remain high across the country and that less than 2 percent of kindergarteners were exempt from the shot requirements for the 2014-2015 school year. Published August 27, 2015

Obama agenda and legacy in the hands of federal judges

A federal judge in Texas has put President Obama's deportation amnesty on hold, while another judge in the District of Columbia is poised to rule any day now on whether the House can sue to stop parts of the administration's Obamacare spending. Published August 26, 2015

The website, where people can buy health insurance, is displayed on a laptop screen in Portland, Ore., in this Nov. 12, 2014, file photo. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)

Obamacare 'Cadillac tax' to hit 1 in 4 employers that offer health care benefits

Obamacare's "Cadillac tax" will hit one in four employers that offer health care benefits, a leading industry analyst says in a report being released Tuesday, socking companies with a massive levy that Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill say is unfair to those who have negotiated high-quality plans as part of their jobs. Published August 25, 2015

Republican presidential candidate Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker greets fairgoers during a visit to the Iowa State Fair, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Scott Walker lays out plan to repeal, replace Obamacare

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker touted his "put up or shut up" style and called out members of his own party Tuesday in unveiling his own plan to repeal and replace Obamacare with a system of refundable tax credits, an overhaul of Medicaid and reforms to long-term care. Published August 18, 2015

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell speaks in Washington in this July 28, 2014, file photo. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

HHS: Nearly 1 million got covered between Obamacare's enrollment periods

Nearly a million people have signed up for Obamacare since Feb. 23 because they lost other forms of coverage or had a significant life change, the Obama administration said Thursday in a snapshot of people who used the federal website between the law's formal enrollment periods. Published August 13, 2015

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, the Iowa Republican who has emerged as a key watchdog on Obamacare, said some exchange customers could intentionally misestimate their earnings, breach the cap and then avoid having to pay it all back. (Associated Press)

IRS may never recoup $350 million in Obamacare tax credit overpayments

A quirk in the law means the IRS will never be able to recoup nearly $350 million in overpayments on Obamacare tax credits last year, and one top senator says he is worried that fraudsters will exploit the loophole to wring more cash out of the government. Published August 11, 2015

Hillary Rodham Clinton's plan would direct law enforcement agencies to crack down on for-profit colleges that engage in deceptive marketing, fraud, and other illegal practices. (Associated Press)

Hillary Clinton cracks down on for-profit colleges after cashing in

When Hillary Rodham Clinton, the 2016 presidential candidate, unveiled her college affordability plan on Monday, she sounded every bit the critic of for-profit universities. But Mrs. Clinton, the spouse, benefited to the tune of millions of dollars from that same industry in a business relationship her husband enjoyed as recently as this spring. Published August 10, 2015