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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** Eric Cantor (Associated Press)

Cantor: Clear calendars for spending deal push

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said lawmakers should be ready to work on a short-term spending plan during the last week of September — a week they were supposed to be off — setting up yet another 11th-hour showdown over federal spending in Washington to avert a government shutdown. Published September 12, 2013

Top unions push for Obamacare 'fix'

The nation's top labor organization passed a resolution on Wednesday backing President Obama's new health care law but demanding changes in how it treats union members' multi-employer health insurance plans. Published September 12, 2013

**FILE** Speaker of the House John Boehner, Ohio Republican, and GOP leaders talk to reporters following a Republican strategy session at the Capitol on Sept. 10, 2013. (Associated Press)

GOP critics point to Benghazi amid Sept. 11 ceremonies

While federal lawmakers from both parties remember the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Republicans also point to lingering questions from the attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya one year ago. Published September 11, 2013

**FILE** President Obama, accompanied by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, announces the revamp of his contraception policy requiring religious institutions to fully pay for birth control on Feb. 10, 2012, at the White House. (Associated Press)

Republicans see security, readiness problems with health care data hub

President Obama's health care law continues to drop in the polls and faces ever more pressure on Capitol Hill, where Republicans on Wednesday said they doubted the data hub at the center of Obamacare either will be ready on time or be secure enough to protect Americans' privacy. Published September 11, 2013

**FILE** Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican (Associated Press)

Sen. John McCain: Syrian rebels will feel abandoned

Republican Sen. John McCain said Wednesday President Obama struck an emotional chord with the American public late Tuesday, but he was "very disappointed" that he did not lay out a plan to arm vetted rebel groups fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad. Published September 11, 2013

Senate pressed on Obamacare

Top House Republicans on Tuesday challenged Senate Democrats to hold a vote on legislation to defund President Obama's health care law as part of any spending deal this month — but they were facing a potential rebellion within their own ranks because the move wouldn't force an all-or-nothing showdown. Published September 10, 2013

Sen. Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican, answers questions from the crowd about immigration reform, gay marriage and other topics on March 28, 2013, during a town-hall-style meeting at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz. (Associated Press/The Daily Courier) ** FILE **

Republicans seek 1-year delay for more of Obamacare

Sen. Jeff Flake on Tuesday led a coalition of Republicans in filing a bill to delay by one year any provisions of Obamacare that are set to take effect Jan. 1 or later. Published September 10, 2013

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