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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.

D.C. Council member David A. Catania (The Washington Times)

Catania finds $20M to restore D.C. healthcare funding

D.C. Council member David A. Catania announced his Committee on Health has found $20 million to restore hospital and specialty funding to about 20,000 city residents — almost all of them immigrants — who are not eligible for Medicaid. Published May 3, 2012

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray had the support of bar owners for his proposal that clubs be allowed to remain open an extra hour, till 3 a.m. on weeknights and 4 a.m. on weekends, but a D.C. Council committee voted 3 to 2 against the plan Wednesday. The measure could still resurface, however. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

D.C. Council panel refuses to extend bar hours

A D.C. Council committee on Wednesday delivered a blow to Mayor Vincent C. Gray's plan to raise $3.2 million in the coming year by allowing bars to stay open for an additional hour. Published May 2, 2012

D.C. Council members Phil Mendelson (left) and Michael A. Brown (center) listen to American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Executive Director Geo T. Johnson's pitch for compensation for furlough days for city employees. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

D.C. Council deadlocks on amendment to budget

The D.C. Council on Tuesday failed to pass a midyear spending plan that would have compensated city workers for four furlough days in 2011 after it deadlocked on a patchwork of funding priorities and whether it made sense to put the District's payroll over its other responsibilities. Published May 1, 2012

D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown (above) says he is "not jumping up and down about any increase in taxes and fees" to close the city's budget gap. Council aide Juan Gray (left) collects small toy houses that say "Kids need homes" placed by protesters Monday in the council chamber before they were told to leave. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Graham proposes alcohol tax hike

D.C. Council member Jim Graham on Monday proposed an increase to the District's alcohol excise tax that translates to 6 cents more per drink at bars and liquor stores - a bid to close the city's budget gap without green-lighting Mayor Vincent C. Gray's plan to keep taverns open an extra hour. Published April 30, 2012

D.C Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

Spending plan includes furlough repayments, bonds-tax repeal

The D.C. Council on Tuesday will consider a $68.7 million spending plan for the rest of the fiscal year that repays city workers for furlough days they took in 2011 and repeals a controversial and confusing tax on interest earned from out-of-state bonds, council Chairman Kwame R. Brown said. Published April 30, 2012

**FILE** Former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. (Andrew S. Geraci/The Washington Times)

46-month sentence sought for former D.C. Council member

Federal prosecutors will ask a U.S. District Court judge to sentence former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. to nearly four years in prison for stealing from the city while he "publicly portrayed himself as a champion of underprivileged children" and eroded the city government's reputation in the process, according to court papers filed Friday. Published April 27, 2012

D.C. Council member Jim Graham (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

Report: Others aided Thomas' theft from trust

D.C. Council member Jim Graham is using his oversight powers to launch a formal investigation into whether staff at a public-private nonprofit "and perhaps others" paved the way for former city lawmaker Harry Thomas Jr. to pocket more than $350,000 in city funds intended for youth sports programs. Published April 27, 2012

Then-D.C. Council member Marion Barry (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times) ** FILE **

Barry won't apologize for comments on Asians, Filipino nurses

D.C. Council member Marion Barry struck an unyielding tone in defending himself Thursday against criticism over his contentious remarks about Asian-owned shops and the number of Filipino nurses in the District — comments that prompted one man to say he had rooted for the mayor-for-life for years, only to have his heart broken. Published April 26, 2012

"All I was after was making sure the District had its own Hatch Act," Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C. Democrat, said Wednesday. "There's confusion as to how the law applies to D.C." (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

Norton urges Hatch Act change

The District's nonvoting member of Congress is hoping to divorce the city from aspects of a law that limits federal employees' political activities as the city gains traction in efforts to increase the distance between local affairs and controlling hands on Capitol Hill. Published April 25, 2012

Councilman Jim Graham tells the executive witness panel that they, too, should care about being able to show how their funding has a direct impact on those who receive it during a Budget Oversight Hearing on the Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation, the organization former Councilman Harry Thomas is accused of funneling money through, on Monday, April 23, 2012 at the Wilson Building in Washington, D.C. After realizing that the panel of executive witnesses did not have specific information on the direct impact of their grants, Councilman Graham recessed their panel, asking that they come back in a week with more specifics. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

Upheaval at Thomas trust needs explaining

A nonprofit organization that former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. used as a pass-through to steal public funds from 2007 to 2009 needs to tighten its books, find more private dollars to complement its public funding and explain the recent firing of its president and CEO, council member Jim Graham said Monday. Published April 23, 2012

D.C. Council member David A. Catania (The Washington Times)

D.C. Council member calls for health care overhaul

D.C. Council member David A. Catania put forth game-changing proposals Thursday intended to save money in the District's public health care framework — one to scrap the city's managed care system and another that requires many low-income patients to start paying monthly premiums for services "so that everyone is pulling the wagon." Published April 19, 2012

D.C. government website downed by hackers

City government websites in the District failed to load for hours on Thursday, the apparent victims of hackers who wanted to target government sites. Published April 19, 2012

D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson and Mayor Vincent C. Gray answer questions Wednesday about the five goals in their five-year plan to aggressively rebuild the District's public school system. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

'Ambitious' goals in D.C. schools' five-year plan put focus on teaching

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray and public schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson outlined an ambitious five-year plan Wednesday to improve student performance, increase graduation rates and fund pilot programs that could lengthen the school day or academic year at specified schools in the District. Published April 18, 2012

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

Repaying D.C. workers for unpaid furloughs debated

Mayor Vincent C. Gray on Wednesday declared his commitment to reimbursing city workers who took four unpaid furlough days last year, a plan that has been complicated by slippery dollar amounts and diverging priorities among city lawmakers. Published April 18, 2012

Budget add-ons diminish council's good will

D.C. Council members on Tuesday worried that friction with Mayor Vincent C. Gray is "escalating dramatically" because of contentious mid-year spending plans that are causing heartburn around city hall. Published April 17, 2012

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District's nonvoting member of Congress, is joined by Mayor Vincent C. Gray as they march in the city's Emancipation Day parade Monday. The celebrated day in 1862 was about nine months before the historic Emanicpation Proclamation. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

Hill weighs 'budget autonomy' for D.C.

Sen. Joe Lieberman plans to introduce legislation that would grant "budget autonomy" to the District, a key priority for Mayor Vincent C. Gray and other city leaders that would allow them to manage their fiscal year and local dollars without being tethered to congressional approval, a Senate committee aide said Monday. Published April 16, 2012

D.C. Council member Vincent B. Orange shakes hands with a supporter outside his campaign headquarters on South Dakota Avenue in Northeast D.C., on Friday, March 30, 2012. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

Orange triumph wraps sweep for D.C. Council incumbents

Council member Vincent B. Orange has rounded out a full sweep by five Democratic incumbents in the D.C. primary elections, defeating challenger Sekou Biddle by more than 1,700 votes after special ballots were tallied Friday. Published April 13, 2012