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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 ** Rep. Stephen Lee Fincher (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Ex-Im Bank backers rally enough support to force House vote

Emerging from a dust cloud of political chaos in the House, a bipartisan coalition said Friday they'd mustered enough support to bring back the federal Export-Import Bank, an obscure credit agency that expired after top conservatives accused it of handing out "corporate welfare" to companies that don't need it. Published October 9, 2015

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif. walks out of nomination vote meeting after dropping out of the race to replace House Speaker John Boehner, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, on Capitol Hill in Washington. In a stunning move, McCarthy withdrew his candidacy for House speaker Thursday, throwing Congress' Republican leadership into chaos.  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

House GOP left rudderless as McCarthy abruptly ends bid for House speaker

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy abruptly ended his bid Thursday to be the next House speaker, shocking GOP colleagues who walked into a noon meeting expecting to coronate him as their pick, and instead walked out amid chaos, leaving the party rudderless as it stumbles toward a series of major policy showdowns. Published October 8, 2015

Nancy Pelosi has no sympathy 'at all' for leaders in fractured GOP

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she has no sympathy "at all" for Republican leaders who've dealt with a fractious caucus and must navigate a messy race to replace Speaker John A. Boehner, who decided to resign rather contend with the divisions any longer. Published October 8, 2015

Sen. Bernard Sanders' campaign said a less than 1 percent tax on Americans making more than $1 million per year would cover the lost revenue from a repeal of the Obamacare "Cadillac tax." (Associated Press)

'Cadillac tax' repeal threatened by fight over how to fill $90 billion budget hole

Everyone from Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton to Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, wants to scrap the "Cadillac tax" on generous health care plans — a rare bipartisan push to tweak Obamacare — but there is little consensus on how to fill the $90 billion budget hole that a repeal would leave. Published October 6, 2015

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Md. leaves the House Chamber at the Capitol in Washington, in this Feb. 27, 2015, file photo. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Steny Hoyer: Up to GOP caucus to decide next speaker

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said Tuesday it will be up to the Republican majority to decide who replaces departing Speaker John A. Boehner this month, downplaying what role, if any, Democrats will play if his likely successor cannot rally majority support from the chamber. Published October 6, 2015

House Committee on the Budget Chairman Tom Price, Georgia Republican (Associated Press) **FILE**

House budget-minders tee up moves to dismantle Obamacare

House Republicans announced Friday they will forge ahead next week with efforts to dismantle Obamacare through a fast-track budget process, wasting little time after three panels recommended ways to repeal the 2010 law's most unpopular mandates, taxes and regulations. Published October 2, 2015

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif. leaves a procedural vote and debate in the House on a stopgap spending bill to avert a government shutdown on Sept. 30, 2015, on Capitol Hill in Washington. A temporary funding measure aiming to keep the government open past a midnight deadline sailed through the Senate on Wednesday and was expected to make its way shortly through a divided House and on to President Barack Obama. (Associated Press)

House passes funding bill, averting government shutdown

The House approved a stopgap spending bill Wednesday to fund federal operations for 10 more weeks, clearing the bill for President Obama's signature with several hours to spare before a midnight deadline to keep the government open. Published September 30, 2015

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

GOP leaders, Obama look to avoid shutdown

House and Senate Republican leaders have kicked off budget talks with President Obama as Congress searches for ways to get out of yet another shutdown showdown jam later this year. Published September 29, 2015

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, answers questions during an interview with The Associated Press in his office on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 9, 2015. (Associated Press) **FILE**

House panel votes to scrap Obamacare mandates

The House Ways and Means Committee moved Tuesday to chip away at Obamacare by using a fast-track budget tool to repeal the law's most unpopular taxes and provisions, including the mandate requiring Americans to hold insurance. Published September 29, 2015

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas speaks in Washington. The Senate is on track to advance legislation to prevent the government from shutting down after a midnight Wednesday deadline. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

Senate moves to avoid gov't shutdown, holds off hardliners on Planned Parenthood

The Senate took a major step Monday toward keeping the government open and funded beyond this week, staving off hard-line conservatives' push to threaten a government shutdown over funding for Planned Parenthood, as House GOP leaders settled on a new strategy to force the pro-life issue onto President Obama's desk. Published September 28, 2015

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) ** FILE **

Ted Cruz on gov't shutdown: Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid are 'de facto' leaders of Congress

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz cued up the GOP's opening bid Thursday to avert a government shutdown by accusing his own party's leaders of surrendering before the fight, saying they've allowed President Obama and his Democratic allies to pull the strings in Washington despite a "tidal wave" of Republican success in the 2014 midterms. Published September 24, 2015