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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.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Treasury cooked up excuse for Obamacare payments, GOP report says

The Obama administration ignored its own advice and forged ahead with Obamacare payments to insurers without permission from Congress, House Republicans said Thursday in a scathing report that says the White House dismissed the Constitution's separation of powers and swiped $7 billion from taxpayers. Published July 7, 2016

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. speaks in Trenton, N.J., on June 10, 2013. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Democrats threaten to oppose opioid plan over funding

Democratic negotiators threatened to oppose an emerging plan to address the nation's prescription opioid and heroin epidemic Wednesday after Republicans rebuffed their attempts to add nearly $1 billion to the deal, raising doubts about yet another effort to address a public health crisis in jeopardy. Published July 6, 2016

In this photo provided by Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., Democratic members of Congress, including Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., center, and Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., left, participate in sit-in protest on the floor of the House on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday, June 22, 2016, seeking a vote on gun-control measures. (Rep. John Yarmuth via AP) ** FILE **

GOP leaders resist Democratic calls for gun votes

House Republican leaders signaled Tuesday they won't cave to Democratic demands for a vote on "no fly, no buy" gun legislation because it would strip people of their constitutional rights and reward the minority party for waging a boisterous sit-in on the chamber floor. Published July 5, 2016

Rio de Janierio Olympic officials are pressing on with preps for the Summer Games, saying that the Southern Hemisphere's winter months will allow time for instituting measures to head off Zika virus concerns. (Associated Press)

NIH plans to enlist U.S. Olympic team for Zika study

The National Institutes of Health said Tuesday it plans to monitor Olympic athletes, coaches and staff for exposure to the Zika virus during the Summer Games in Brazil, calling it an "unique opportunity" to study the mosquito-borne outbreak at its epicenter. Published July 5, 2016

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington in this June 9, 2016, file photo. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) ** FILE **

Voters insistent Congress needs to do more against Zika

As Americans turned out by the millions for barbecues and fireworks for Monday's July 4 festivities, Republicans were hoping that every mosquito bite will make the patriotic revelers think of the Zika virus — and of Democrats. Published July 4, 2016

Donald Trump appeared to be angling for a political boost no matter what the FBI recommends. If Hillary Clinton is indicted, she might be nudged out of the race. If she isn't, he can cry malfeasance. "Like I said, the system is totally rigged!" he said on Twitter. (Associated Press)

Trump claims inside knowledge of email probe, says no charges for Clinton

Hillary Clinton's sit-down with the FBI snapped the political world to attention over the sleepy July Fourth holiday weekend, with Democrats saying charges are outside "the realm of possibility" and Republicans signaling the same, yet only because they think the Justice Department will not hurt President Obama's handpicked successor. Published July 3, 2016

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., second from left, joined by, from left, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.,, and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, faces reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 28, 2016, as the Senate split along party lines and left a $1.1 billion proposal to fight the Zika virus in limbo. (Associated Press) **FILE**

House to vote on Cornyn gun measure next week

The House has scheduled a vote next week on a bill to stop suspected terrorists from buying firearms from gun dealers as part of a new anti-terrorism package. Published July 1, 2016

(Associated Press/File)

Snapshot: 1.6 million Obamacare customers dropped out as of March 31

Obamacare lost 1.6 million customers on its web-based exchanges between the end of open enrollment and March 31, the administration said Thursday in a snapshot of how many customers held on to coverage after the law's third round of signups. Published June 30, 2016

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, Alabama Republican, listens as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testifies on U.S. monetary policy on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 21, 2016. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Democrats urge Sen. Richard Shelby to drop Ex-Im blockade

Dozens of Senate Democrats urged Sen. Richard Shelby on Thursday to reconsider his decision to block a nominee to the Export-Import Bank, arguing his blockade is holding back an agency that enjoys majority support from Congress. Published June 30, 2016

In this photo taken Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, Blue Bridge Benefits LLC agent Patricia Sarabia helps customers interested in Obama Care at a kiosk at Compare Foods in Winston-Salem, N.C.  Such atypical approaches to selling health insurance policies are playing out across the country since the second round of open enrollment under the federal Affordable Care Act opened in mid-November. Insurance companies and some states are focusing heavily on signing up eligible Hispanics, a group that accounts for a large share of the nation's uninsured but largely avoided applying for coverage during the first full year the health care reform law was in effect. Hispanics accounted for just 11 percent of those who enrolled in the private policies sold during the initial sign-up period, which ended in March.  (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Republicans back Obamacare repeal, but divided over replacing it: Poll

Knee-deep in an election year, an increasing share of Republicans want to repeal Obamacare entirely but remain split on whether to replace it with a GOP-favored plan, while Democratic partisans are warming to the law after a presidential primary that put single-payer health care on the table, according to a poll released Thursday. Published June 30, 2016