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Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

Articles by Tom Howell Jr.

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)  Commissioner John Koskinen testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 15, 2015, before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing to examine IRS challenges in implementing the Affordable Care Act. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

IRS unable to make sure people comply with Obamacare penalty: Treasury IG

The IRS cannot be sure that Americans who lacked health insurance last year have complied with Obamacare's "individual mandate" penalty this tax season, according to an inspector general report Friday that pointed to a decision to delay proof-of-coverage forms from insurers and employers until 2016. Published May 8, 2015

Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott speaks during during the Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA) Leaders Forum in the Woodland Hills area of Los Angeles on April 13, 2015. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Florida Gov. Rick Scott pleads with Obama administration for health care funding

Florida Gov. Rick Scott pleaded face-to-face with the Obama administration Wednesday to preserve funding for an expiring health program, even though the federal government has told him to expand Medicaid instead -- a standoff that has produced a lawsuit, delayed state budget talks and roiled Obamacare politics at large. Published May 6, 2015

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, answers a question during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 21, 2015. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Congress passes first budget in 6 years

Congress' unified budget cleared a procedural hurdle in the Senate Tuesday, setting the stage for final passage of the GOP-authored blueprint later in the day. Published May 5, 2015

A worker is seen behind the registration window of the emergency room at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta on Jan. 24, 2014. (Associated Press) **FILE**

ER visits up under Obamacare despite promises, doctors' poll finds

Doctors say emergency room visits have increased since the advent of Obamacare, undercutting one of the key selling points of President Obama's health care law, which was supposed to ensure a healthier population by pushing consumers to rely on their primary physicians rather than emergency trips to the hospital. Published May 4, 2015

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks at the Iowa Faith & Freedom 15th Annual Spring Kick Off, in Waukee, Iowa, Saturday, April 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Bobby Jindal: GOP needs Obamacare replacement 'today'

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said Friday that congressional Republicans need to present a replacement to Obamacare immediately, arguing it isn't enough to fight for repeal or try to scrap parts of President Obama's overhaul. Published May 1, 2015

"There is no question this budget is far from perfect, but it is some progress since it has been a long time since the Congress has completed this basic part of governing," said Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, who had refused to sign off on the budget, objecting to the "gimmicks," before relenting on Wednesday. (Associated Press)

GOP budget would erase deficit in a decade without raising taxes

Republican negotiators announced they'd reached a deal Wednesday on a unified federal budget, marking the first time in six years that the annual spending process will be governed by a full blueprint, and setting the stage for cuts in health and welfare spending plus a boost in defense. Published April 29, 2015

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif. participates in a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 24, 2015, with members of the House GOP leadership. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Obama impeding attempt to lift sequester: House majority leader

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday that Republicans will not try to lift "sequester" limits during the annual spending process because the caps are written into law and they view President Obama as an uncooperative negotiator. Published April 28, 2015

"There is no question this budget is far from perfect, but it is some progress since it has been a long time since the Congress has completed this basic part of governing," said Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, who had refused to sign off on the budget, objecting to the "gimmicks," before relenting on Wednesday. (Associated Press)

Bob Corker stalling GOP budget deal

GOP negotiators struggled Tuesday to complete their budget as a lone Republican held out, protesting what he called "gimmicks" his colleagues were using. Published April 28, 2015

House Speaker John A. Boehner. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

House Republicans start 2016 budgets, too early for Democrats

The House will take up 2016 spending bills this week even as Republican negotiators finalize a budget framework and the White House warns Republicans not to forge ahead without lifting mandatory spending caps the parties agreed to years ago. Published April 26, 2015

A kit with naloxone, also known by its brand name Narcan, is displayed at the South Jersey AIDS Alliance in Atlantic City, N.J., on Feb. 19, 2014. An overdose of opiates essentially makes the body forget to breathe. Naloxone works by blocking the brain receptors that opiates latch onto and helping the body "remember" to take in air. (Associated Press) **FILE**

CDC: Time for all EMS staff to employ overdose-reversal drug

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday urged emergency response agencies to make sure all of their staff members know how to use an overdose-reversal treatment that can prevent deaths from prescription opioid or heroin use. Published April 24, 2015

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

Sen. David Vitter's Obamacare subpoena bid doomed by five GOP defections

Five Senate Republicans voted with Democrats Thursday to reject Sen. David Vitter's attempt to subpoena the D.C. health exchange, dealing a blow to his one-man probe into why Congress is allowed to use the city's small-business health program although it employs thousands. Published April 23, 2015