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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.

Senate Special Committee on Aging Chair Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, right, and the committee's ranking member Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., confer on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 27, 2016, prior to the start of their committee's hearing on drastic price hikes by Valeant and a handful of other drugmakers that have stoked outrage from patients, physicians and politicians nationwide. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Valeant CEO admits to Congress: Pharma company acquired drugs, hiked prices

The departing CEO of Valeant Pharmaceuticals told Congress Wednesday his company was too "aggressive" in pursuing drastic price hikes for products it acquired from other drug makers, though his mea culpa did little to assuage lawmakers who said he put Wall Street's expectations over seriously ill patients. Published April 27, 2016

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Harry Reid of Nev., joined by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., left and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 27, 2016, to call on congressional Republicans to approve President Barack Obama's emergency supplemental request to fight the Zika virus. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Conservatives tell Obama to use budget waste for Zika funding

If President Obama needs more money to fight the Zika virus, he will have to find it by cutting elsewhere in the federal budget, House conservatives said Wednesday, laying down a marker as Congress increasingly clashes with the administration over spending requests. Published April 27, 2016

Incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis in Cheyenne, Wyo. (Associated Press/The Wyoming Tribune Eagle) **FILE**

Rep. Cynthia Lummis to Trump: Use VP pick to balance out personality

GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump should choose a running mate who is serious-minded and understands Congress, a Wyoming congresswoman said Wednesday, arguing the vice president slot would be the ideal place to temper his outsized personality. Published April 27, 2016

Harry Reid: Senate must act this week on Zika virus funding

Congressional GOP leaders said they are still searching for the "right number" in a standoff over funding to combat Zika, brushing aside withering criticism Tuesday from the White House and Senate Democrats who accused Republicans of dithering in the face of a major health crisis. Published April 26, 2016

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California declared Zika is far too imminent a threat to public health to quibble over funding sources, and called out Republicans for saying the money can only come from budget cuts elsewhere. (Associated Press)

House Democrats put funds for Zika fight on deficit tab

House Democrats threw down their marker Monday in the fight over how much money is needed to fight the Zika virus, writing legislation that would fund all of President Obama's $1.9 billion request and tacking it all onto the deficit. Published April 25, 2016

Workers from the Puerto Rico Health Department and CDC review Zika-related data collected by the island's health dept and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Feb. 24, 2016. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

HHS chief to address Zika in Puerto Rico

President Obama's top health official will visit Puerto Rico this week to get a firsthand look at how the island is combating the Zika virus, a trip that coincides with Senate efforts to partially fund President Obama $1.9 billion request for emergency funding to stave off the mosquito-borne illness. Published April 25, 2016

Former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli is interviewed by host Maria Bartiromo during her "Mornings with Maria Bartiromo" program on the Fox Business Network, in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) ** FILE **

Coalition proposes ways to cut rising drug costs

A diverse coalition of seniors, health plans and private companies proposed a series of steps Monday to tamp down the cost of prescription drugs, from speeding the approval of generics to publicly reporting notable price hikes. Published April 25, 2016

Looking back at the 2012 election, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus concluded, "Our message was weak, our ground game was insufficient, we weren't inclusive, we were behind in both data and digital, our primary and debate process needed improvement." (CBS News via Associated Press)

Hoping for a Trump or Cruz alternative is dumb, RNC chairman says

Republicans who think they can draft an eleventh-hour alternative to front-runner Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz are pushing a dumb idea that is "never going to work," the party's top official said Sunday, throwing cold water on voices that say it is not to late to pick a candidate with broader appeal. Published April 24, 2016

In this Jan. 27, 2016, file photo, samples of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, responsible for transmitting dengue and Zika, sit in a petri dish at the Fiocruz Institute in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil. Mosquito-eradication efforts have taken on new urgency in Brazil with the Olympic Games slated to start in August. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)

Heritage Action: Make sure Zika virus deal is paid for

An influential conservative group told Congress on Friday to pay for an emerging deal to combat the Zika virus by swiping dollars from other programs or using the annual budget process to prioritize the fight over other spending. Published April 22, 2016

Dallas County Mosquito Lab microbiologist Spencer Lockwood sorts mosquitos collected in a trap, left, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Hutchins, Texas, that had been set up in Dallas County near the location of a confirmed Zika virus infection. (AP Photo/LM Otero) ** FILE **

Senate works to partially fund Obama's Zika request

The Senate is nearing a roughly $1 billion deal that would fund part of President Obama's request to fight the Zika virus, a mosquito-borne illness that causes serious birth defects and is threatening the U.S. mainland. Published April 21, 2016

FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016 file photo, a health workers stands in the Sambadrome spraying insecticide to combat the Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits the Zika virus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In the 1940s and 1950s, Brazilian authorities made such a ferocious assault on Aedes aegypti that the mosquito, that it was eradicated from Latin America's largest country by 1958. But eradication experts say there is little chance that Brazil can come anywhere near stamping out the pest like it did a half century ago. (AP Photo/Leo Correa, File)

House Democrat: GOP has more detail on Zika request than we had on Iraq War

House Democrats on Wednesday accused Republican leaders of intentionally dragging out the debate over President Obama's $1.9 billion request to fight the Zika virus, saying the White House has already detailed everything there is to know about its plea for emergency funding. Published April 20, 2016

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, leaves the House Chamber at the Capitol in Washington on Feb. 27, 2015. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Steny Hoyer to conservatives: Stop blocking Ex-Im Bank nominee

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer pleaded with a key Senate Republican Tuesday to reconsider his "frustrating" 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 April 19, 2016

Lara, who is less than 3 months old and was born with microcephaly, is examined by a neurologist at the Pedro I hospital in Campina Grande, Paraiba state, Brazil, on Feb. 12, 2016. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Senate Dems to Mitch McConnell: Take up $2B Zika request now

Senate Democrats pleaded with Republican leaders Monday to take up President Obama's $1.9 billion request to combat the Zika virus "as soon as possible," saying the mosquito-borne illness poses a real threat to pregnant women. Published April 18, 2016