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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.

Shamu in "Believe," SeaWorld Orlando Florida

Obamacare casualty: SeaWorld's Shamu

The SeaWorld chain of amusement parks is cutting hours for thousands of its part-time workers from 32 hours per week to 28 hours as of November, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Published September 10, 2013

** FILE ** Sen. David Vitter, Louisiana Republican (Associated Press)

GOP rallies support to end Congress's Obamacare exemption

Rep. Phil Gingrey, Georgia Republican, introduced a bill Tuesday that would reverse the Obama administration's decision to let members of Congress and their staffs retain an employer subsidy that will pay for the lion's share of their health premiums even as they enter new health exchanges tied to Obamacare. Published September 10, 2013

White House press secretary Jay Carney gestures during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, Monday, Sept., 9, 2013. The White House is "highly skeptical" of the Russian proposal to allow international inspectors into Syria to examine that country's chemical weapons stockpile, Carney said. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Obama will stick to case for strike, yet explore diplomacy, W.H. spokesman says

White House spokesman Jay Carney says President Obama will continue to press his case for a U.S. military strike in Syria during his address to the nation late Tuesday, arguing the credible threat of intervention is the only reason Russia and Syrian President Bashar Assad are trying to forge a diplomatic solution. Published September 10, 2013

** FILE ** Sen. John Thune, South Dakota Republican (Associated Press)

GOP Sen. John Thune files bill to thwart Obamacare deal for unions

Sen. John Thune introduced a bill Monday that would thwart the White House from softening the impact of the new health care law on unions, a traditional set of White House allies who are rethinking their support for the controversial reforms. Published September 9, 2013

**FILE** Sen. Lamar Alexander, Tennessee Republican, speaks to reporters on Jan. 9, 2013, in Nashville. (Associated Press)

Blunt, Alexander, Heitkamp join growing ranks of anti-war senators

Republican Sens. Roy Blunt of Missouri and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee said Monday they are opposed to military action in Syria, adding to an ever-increasing tally of senators who will not back President Obama's bid to punish President Bashar Assad for a chemical attack on Aug. 21. Published September 9, 2013

** FILE ** In this Sunday, Aug. 4, 2013, file photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad delivers a speech at an Iftar dinner with political and religious figures in Damascus, Syria. (AP Photo/SANA, File)

Weasel words? Assad says there is 'no evidence' he used chemical weapons

Syrian President Bashar Assad said Monday that Americans that they should "expect everything" in response to a U.S. military strike on his country, a declaration that many viewed as a chilling sign his regime could rely on allies like Iran and Hezbollah and does not feel hamstrung by its own limitations. Published September 9, 2013

FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate told the Arizona governor his agency had provided a Fire Management Assistance Grant in June, but that he had to reject a request for aid under a program for individuals and households.

Obama pressed on Ariz. fatal-fire relief

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and federal lawmakers are pressuring the Obama administration to reconsider its decision not to grant major-disaster aid to residents affected by the Yarnell Hill Fire, an early summer tragedy that killed 19 firefighters and prompted nationwide mourning. Published September 8, 2013

**FILE** President Obama speaks at a disabled veterans event in Orlando, Fla., on Aug. 10, 2013. (Associated Press)

GOP-backed delay to Obamacare would save $35 billion, report says

Congressional auditors said Friday the House-passed bill to delay by one year the individual mandate at the heart of President Obama's new health care law would reduce federal deficits by about $35 billion over the next decade. Published September 6, 2013

Minnesota boasts of low coverage costs under Obamacare

Minnesota's insurance officials said Friday the state will offer some the lowest health insurance rates in the country on the state health exchange it will launch this fall to satisfy a key pillar of President Obama's new health care law. Published September 6, 2013

**FILE** Linda Door of Laguna Beach, Calif., protests outside the United States Supreme Court in Washington on March 26, 2012, as the court begins hearing arguments on the constitutionality of President Obama's health care overhaul, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. (Associated Press)

Low-cost insurance could lead to high medical bills

Health insurance plans in Obamacare's state exchanges will cost less than initially projected, according to a study released Thursday that the administration and its allies said is proof that the law is working as intended. Published September 5, 2013

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

Obamacare 'employer mandate' streamlined by Treasury, but delay stays

The Treasury Department proposed regulations on Thursday to implement reporting requirements for insurers and larger firms subject to the new health care law's "employer mandate," a controversial provision the White House quietly delayed for one year. Published September 5, 2013

Image: Indian Health Service

American Indians need more Obamacare benefits education, says GAO

Government investigators say more than half of Americans Indians and Alaskan Natives — "hundreds of thousands" of them — will be eligible for benefits tied to Obamacare, but federal officials are not doing enough to link them with coverage options that kick in next year. Published September 5, 2013

**FILE** House Ways and Means Committees Chairman Rep. Dave Camp, Michigan Republican. (Associated Press)

Republicans question cost of Obamacare price break for unions

Anticipating a move by the White House to appease unions, top House Republicans asked Congress' auditors to estimate how much it would cost to provide Obamacare subsidies to workers who use multi-employer health plans. Published September 5, 2013

** FILE ** President Obama signs the health care bill at the White House in Washington on March 23, 2010, flanked by smiling supporters from the House and Senate as well as Victoria Reggie Kennedy (behind Mr. Obama's right shoulder), widow of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who was a champion of the legislation. (Associated Press)

Many will not get Obamacare benefits in states resisting Medicaid push: study

Two in five adults who were uninsured at some point in the past two years and live in states that opted not to expand their Medicaid enrollment under President Obama's health care overhaul will not be able to take advantage of new coverage options under the sweeping law, according to a new study. Published September 5, 2013

** FILE ** Former President Bill Clinton speaks about health care at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Ark., on Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

Bill Clinton calls on Obamacare detractors to make the law work

Former President Bill Clinton on Wednesday called on Obamacare's opponents to embrace the new health care law, arguing Americans cannot tolerate from "now to eternity" a broken health care system that lags behind those of other rich nations. Published September 4, 2013

Sen. David Vitter

Lawmakers demand Capitol Hill not be shielded from Obamacare

A quartet of Republican lawmakers on Tuesday accused the Obama administration of taking steps to "shield Washington insiders" from financial impacts of the new health care law and said it should reconsider its approach. Published September 3, 2013

Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican (Associated Press)

Obamacare foes claim 1 million signatures for defunding

The Senate Conservatives Fund and outspoken Republican lawmakers boasted Tuesday that more than one million people have signed an online petition that calls on Congress to strip funding from President Obama's health care law. Published September 3, 2013