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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 ** Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. (Associated Press)

Sebelius touts Obamacare in Texas; Gov. Perry says don't bother

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will promote the health care law in Texas on Thursday, meeting with mayors and other stakeholders less than two months before Americans without employer-based health coverage start to enroll in state-based insurance markets. Published August 8, 2013

** FILE ** President Obama speaks during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington on July 15, 2013. (Associated Press)

D.C. health exchange chief 'thrilled' to serve Congress, staff

Mila Kofman, chief of the D.C. health exchange set up under President Obama's health care law, said Thursday she is "thrilled" to be able to serve members of Congress and staff members who are forced to use the state-based insurance markets because of a provision in the law. Published August 8, 2013

** FILE ** President Obama signs the Affordable Care Act in 2010 at the White House.

Religious university balks at 'accommodation,' re-files suit over Obamacare's contraception mandate

Colorado Christian University on Wednesday re-issued its lawsuit over the "contraception mandate" tied to the federal health care law, becoming the first religious nonprofit to revamp its civil complaint after the Obama administration finalized an "accommodation" in late June designed to assuage concerns among religious institutions, according to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. Published August 7, 2013


Norquist endorses drive to defund Obamacare

Anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and a coalition of advocacy groups on Wednesday sent a letter to Republican congressional leaders asking them to join the campaign to defund Obamacare in the upcoming spending debate on Capitol Hill. Published August 7, 2013

** FILE ** President Obama speaks to reporters in the White House briefing room in Washington, March 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

White House touts accounts for health exchanges

Although virtual insurance markets tied to the health care law will not enroll people for another two months, the Obama administration on Tuesday encouraged Americans who plan to use the state-based exchanges to set up an online account ahead of time. Published August 6, 2013

**FILE** Rep. Steve Stockman (second from right), Texas Republican, participates in a mock swearing-in ceremony with Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner, Ohio Republican, for the 113th Congress in Washington on Jan. 3, 2013. (Associated Press)

Rep. Stockman backs 'defund Obamacare' drive

Texas Rep. Steve Stockman has stepped forward as a vocal advocate in the House for a divisive strategy being pushed by high-profile Senate Republicans to "defund Obamacare" through the upcoming debate on federal spending. Published August 6, 2013

"Now is the single best time and best opportunity to defeat Obamacare. No. 2, this is a fight that we can win. And No. 3, only the American people can win this," said Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican. (Associated Press)

Cruz, others press effort to deny funds to health reform law

Despite warnings from their own party leaders, a breakaway group of conservative Republicans pushed ahead Thursday with a plan to defund President Obama's new health care law as part of an upcoming spending battle, even as administration officials assured Congress they will be ready to implement the health reforms on time. Published August 1, 2013

**FILE** Supporters of President Obama's health care law celebrate June 28, 2012, outside the Supreme Court after the court's ruling was announced. A narrow 5-4 majority led by Chief Justice G. Roberts Jr. upheld the controversial 2010 law. (Associated Press)

Administration readies income checks for Obamacare

The Obama administration is set to unveil new procedures that will greatly expand the government's ability to verify the income of Americans who seek government subsidies under the federal health care law. Published August 1, 2013

**FILE** Rep. James Lankford, Oklahoma Republican, speaks during a town hall meeting in Del City, Okla., on July 2, 2013. (Associated Press)

GOP questions legality of Obamacare subsidies

The House's top investigators Wednesday accused the Obama administration of illegally trying to paper over the flaws in the new health care law, saying the president and his aides are going beyond their powers to cover up for the fact that so many states have rejected federally run exchanges. Published July 31, 2013

Tea party asks its grass roots to help kill health care law

Tea party Republicans are girding for a fight with the White House — and members of their own party — over how to block President Obama's health care law, saying Congress must not miss the chance to use this year's funding bills to try to starve Obamacare to death. Published July 31, 2013

"Many states have cooperated, some have not," Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, Maryland Democrat, said Monday of the health care law while in Waldorf, Md. "Some have a mixed record. They maybe voiced opposition but still moved forward to try to get federal funds.  There's more confusion out there than there should be."
(Associated Press)

Democrats getting out to explain health law benefits

Two federal lawmakers from Maryland, a state that embraced the new health care law from the start, pitched the benefits of Obamacare to constituents Monday — even as congressional Republicans about 25 miles up the road prepped last-ditch efforts to dismantle the law from their perch on Capitol Hill. Published July 29, 2013

Birth control pill available to girls hits store shelves

A morning-after birth control pill that set off a bruising court battle and forged an unusual alliance between President Obama and social conservatives has hit store shelves and increasingly will become available without any restrictions. Published July 28, 2013

** FILE ** U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry (right) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (left) brief the media after their meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Sunday, June 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Israeli-Palestinian talks to start Monday

Israel and the Palestinian Authority will resume peace talks Monday in Washington after a three-year break, the result of months of lobbying and a personal invitation over the weekend by Secretary of State John F. Kerry. Published July 28, 2013

** FILE ** Treasury Secretary Jack Lew testifies before the Senate Banking Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, May 21, 2013. (Associated Press)

Treasury's Jack Lew warns against brinkmanship over debt ceiling

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Sunday called on Congress to "do its job" and avoid what could be a bruising budgetary standoff this fall, arguing Washington cannot afford a repeat of the type of "self-inflicted wounds" inflicted on the U.S. economy in the damaging showdown over the debt ceiling in 2011. Published July 28, 2013

Then-New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner speaks during a news conference alongside his wife, Huma Abedin, at the Gay Men's Health Crisis headquarters on Tuesday, July 23, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) ** FILE **

Anthony Weiner under pressure to drop out as campaign manager quits

Embattled candidate Anthony D. Weiner faced mounting pressure Sunday to reconsider his mayoral ambitions in New York City after he confessed last week to swapping illicit messages and photos with women on s social media — a practice he now admits continued even after he resigned from Congress in 2011 because of similar acts. Published July 28, 2013