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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 ** President Obama signs the health care reform bill in the East Room of the White House in Washington on March 23, 2010, as Marcelas Owens (left), 11, of Seattle and Rep. John D. Dingell (right), Michigan Democrat, look on. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

GOP bill exempts religious nonprofits, business owners from contraception mandate

A trio of House Republicans introduced a bill Tuesday that protects religious nonprofits and devout business owners from a provision in President Obama's health care law that requires them to insure contraception for their employees, a mandate they view as an attack on the "bedrock principle" of religious freedom. Published March 5, 2013

Study adds fuel to fire in push for entitlement reform

The push to reform federal payments to doctors who treat Medicare patients picked up steam Monday when physicians released a study arguing that halting unneeded services could save hundreds of billions of dollars. Published March 4, 2013

States cook up own takes on Obamacare

States have scant precedent to rely on as they shape the twin pillars of President Obama's health care law, an uncertainty that has resulted in what one Iowa official described as 50 discrete "laboratories." Published March 4, 2013

Governors using Obamacare in Medicaid talks

Governors are increasingly embracing a key part of President Obama's health law by expanding their Medicaid programs — but they are using the law as a bargaining chip to try to win more flexibility for how they run their own state programs. Published February 28, 2013

** FILE ** Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Virginia Republican, is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. (Associated Press)

House refuses Obama's demand to rush immigration reform

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee laid out a go-slow approach on immigration Wednesday, saying he doesn't think having President Obama write a bill and demand that Congress vote on it would be successful. Published February 27, 2013

** FILE ** Tea party supporter William Temple of Brunswick, Ga., protests President Obama's health care law outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on Thursday, June 28, 2012. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Looking for budget cuts? GOP suggests checking out Obamacare

Republican lawmakers say the costs of implementing President Obama's health care law represent a ripe target for money-saving cuts, as Congress fights over the best way to avert an automatic and indiscriminate budget ax set to come down Friday. Published February 27, 2013

President Obama speaks at the unveiling of a statue of Rosa Parks on Feb. 27, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Associated Press)

Obama, Hill leaders unveil Rosa Parks statue

President Obama and leaders of Congress dedicated a statue of civil-rights hero Rosa Parks on Wednesday in a moving ceremony at the U.S. Capitol, marking the first time a black woman has been honored with a place in National Statuary Hall. Published February 27, 2013

Attorneys General Tim Fox (left) of Montana, Patrick Morrisey (center) of West Virginia and John W. Suthers of Colorado said Tuesday that the Obama administration has undermined their authority by failing to lead on issues that require states to cede to federal supremacy. (Andrew S. Geraci/The Washington Times)

Republican attorneys general see Obama misuse of power

Top Republican legal officials say the Obama administration is reneging on key duties such as border security while overstepping its role through health care mandates and tight regulation of the energy industry, a trend that has led states to heighten their defenses against federal intrusion. Published February 26, 2013

** FILE ** In this Jan. 7, 2013, file photo, President Barack Obama shakes hands with Defense Secretary-nominee, former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais. File)

Richard Shelby's switch has Chuck Hagel on verge of confirmation

Republican Sen. Richard C. Shelby said Thursday he will support Chuck Hagel's bid to become secretary of defense, nudging the contentious pick to the verge of confirmation even as 15 Republicans senators were urging President Obama to abandon his pick to run the Pentagon. Published February 21, 2013

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (Associated Press)

Fla. Gov. Scott will expand Fla. Medicaid program

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday became the latest Republican to green-light the expansion of Medicaid under the President Obama's health-care law, a move that follows in the footsteps of other state leaders who opposed the president's reforms and then accepted federal dollars to insure more low-income residents. Published February 20, 2013

**FILE** Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican (Associated Press)

GOP lawmakers join legal fight against Obama contraception mandate

Eleven Republican members of Congress are challenging the contraception insurance mandate in President Obama's health care law by formally backing Hobby Lobby, the Oklahoma-based chain of crafts stores whose owners say they must choose between their Christian beliefs and insuring women's birth control and other preventative services. Published February 20, 2013

Nonprofits take contraception issue to court

Religious nonprofits have begun to respond in court to the plan the Obama administration offered this month to shelter them from a mandate requiring certain employers to insure contraception — and it's probably not what the White House wanted to hear. Published February 19, 2013

Thomas Monaghan founded Ave Maria University near Naples, Fla., which has been granted flexibility from the Obama administration in regards to contraceptive insurance coverage. (Associated Press)

Obamacare and birth control: Religious ties split coverage

Religious employers battling the Obama administration in court over a mandate in the president's health care law requiring them to offer contraceptive and birth control insurance to their employees could summarize their arguments neatly by pointing to the founder of Domino's Pizza. Published February 18, 2013

Sen. Johnny Isakson, Georgia Republican

Administration: Health care exchanges will be up and running on Oct. 1

Republicans and Democrats warned Thursday that with major parts of President Obama's health law scheduled to go live later this year, the Obama administration had better get it right the first time — or else risk permanently scarring the White House's signature achievement. Published February 14, 2013

Republicans vow to hold out for data before vote on Hagel

Democrats pressed ahead Wednesday with Chuck Hagel's nomination to be secretary of defense, scheduling a showdown vote for Friday even as top Republicans signaled that they need more information before confirming him for the Pentagon's top civilian post. Published February 13, 2013

Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, waits Feb. 12, 2013, on Capitol Hill to make a statement in opposition to President Obama's choice to run the Pentagon as the Senate Senate Armed Services Committee considers the nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska to be secretary of defense. (Associated Press)

Party-line vote sends Pentagon pick Hagel to Senate floor

The Senate Armed Services Committee voted Tuesday along party lines to recommend the nomination of Chuck Hagel as the next secretary of defense, setting up a showdown in the full chamber as outspoken Republicans threatened to thwart the former Nebraska senator's nomination. Published February 12, 2013

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York speaks at a news conference after being elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops during the conference's annual fall meeting Tuesday in Baltimore. It marked the first time since the 1960s that the sitting vice president was not elected.

Concession on birth control not sufficient, bishops say

America's Catholic bishops on Thursday rejected President Obama's latest contraception mandate upon religiously affiliated hospitals, schools and charities, saying the rules still don't ensure that people won't be forced to pay for contraceptives to which they morally object. Published February 7, 2013