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Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

Articles by Tom Howell Jr.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, listens to remarks while addressing the media after a policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 21, 2015. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Senate passes multiyear highway bill; Must negotiate with House this fall

The Senate passed a long-sought highway deal Thursday that authorizes projects for six years while paying for only half of it with a patchwork of funding streams, setting up a bid this fall to meld the plan with a roads bill from the House that would rely on tax reform instead. Published July 30, 2015

Obamacare 'co-ops' flailing, falling behind on loans: audit

Nonprofit "co-op" insurers designed to give Obamacare customers more choice are sinking fast or barely treading water, according to a government audit Thursday that says enrollment is lagging and many will not be able to pay government loans designed to keep them active and solvent. Published July 30, 2015

FILE - In this July 9, 2015 file photo, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Department of Veterans Affairs faces a serious numbers problem _ multiple in fact. It can't count how many veterans died while waiting to sign up for health care. It says some VA hospitals may have to close if the agency can't get $2.5 billion. And a year after scandal rocked the department, congressional Republicans want to know why the number of employees fired is so low. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

House, Senate find a way forward on highways

House Republicans said Tuesday they will vote on a three-month highway bill to keep road projects moving past Friday's funding deadline, offering a way out of a standoff with Senate leaders who barreled ahead with their own, multi-year bill before Congress leaves town next month. Published July 28, 2015

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's new highway spending bill is already on the skids, with both Democrats and Republicans questioning $47 billion in fees and penalties the legislation counts on to fund new road-building over the next three years. (Associated Press)

Obamacare repeal loses, Ex-Im bank wins in GOP-held Senate votes

A procedural vote Sunday to repeal Obamacare couldn't win over a majority of the GOP-led Senate, while a bid to revive an obscure exports agency succeeded, delivering twin blows to conservatives as they navigated a thorny path toward a highway bill that's raised questions about civility and Republican discord in the august chamber. Published July 26, 2015

President Obama shakes hands with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn after arriving at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport Sunday. Mr. Obama is the first sitting U.S. president to visit Ethiopia. His trip also included a stop in Kenya, the homeland of his late father. (Associated Press)

On trip to Africa, Obama champions rights for women, gays

President Obama arrived in Ethiopia late Sunday hoping to find common ground with East African leaders on combating terrorism and finding a way forward on the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan -- a hard-sell mission on the heels of a personal visit to Kenya, where he reached into a grab bag of American history to push an evolving nation into making progress on corruption and the rights of women and gay people. Published July 26, 2015