Skip to content

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.

A health worker stands in the Sambadrome as he sprays insecticide to combat the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that transmits the Zika virus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. Inspectors begin to spray insecticide around Sambadrome, the outdoor grounds where thousands of dancers and musicians will parade during the city's Feb. 5-10 Carnival celebrations. Brazil's health minister says the country will mobilize some 220,000 troops to battle the mosquito blamed for spreading a virus linked to birth defects. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Brazil moves to wipe out mosquitoes to stem Zika virus

The Brazilian government moved Friday to attack mosquito hot spots in federal buildings across the country, part of its effort to "declare war" on insects that are carrying the Zika virus across Latin America. Published January 29, 2016

A researcher holds a container with female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes at the Biomedical Sciences Institute in the Sao Paulo's University, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016. The Aedes aegypti is a vector for transmitting the Zika virus. The Brazilian government announced it will direct funds to a biomedical research center to help develop a vaccine against the Zika virus linked to brain damage in babies. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

WHO convenes emergency session over 'explosively' spreading Zika virus

The World Health Organization said Thursday it will convene an emergency session to fight the Zika virus, a mosquito-borne disease that is "spreading explosively" in the Americas and has been tied to birth defects and other serious health problems, although the link is murky. Published January 28, 2016

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell (Associated Press) **FILE**

Administration nearing target of 13 million Obamacare signups

Nearly 9 million people selected a plan on ahead of Obamacare's last week of signups, the Obama administration said Wednesday, inching the program closer to a downgraded enrollment target of 13 million customers in 2016. Published January 27, 2016

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire Republican (Associated Press) **FILE**

Senators pledge to fight painkiller, heroin epidemic

A bipartisan group of senators urged Congress on Wednesday to attack the epidemic of heroin and painkiller abuse that is afflicting every state, saying a holistic approach is needed to block reckless prescribing, dispose of excess pills and equip first responders with a drug that can reverse overdoses. Published January 27, 2016

People walk past a statue of Gen. John J. Pershing, who had served as general of the Armies in World War I, in Pershing Park, at 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015. A jury has selected five design concepts for a new national World War I Memorial to be built in the memorial park in Washington, with ideas ranging from neoclassical architecture to a portrait wall of the "American family." Congress has dedicated the existing park along Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House to become a national memorial honoring the veterans of the first world war and the 116,516 American lives lost. A design competition drew 350 entries, and a jury narrowed those to five finalists announced Wednesday. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

World War I memorial project kicks off: 'Weight of Sacrifice'

A national memorial to "The Great War" will feature three main sections for recreation and reflection and preserve parts of the District of Columbia park that now sits there, the World War I Centennial Commission said Tuesday as it kicked off an ambitious scramble to fund and construct the tribute before the 100th anniversary of the war's end. Published January 26, 2016

Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat, is trying to unseat Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire. (Associated Press)

Democrats' bid to reclaim Senate boosted by key recruits

Democrats nabbed nearly all of the recruits they wanted as they launched a push to retake the Senate, but few of the candidates are battle-tested and the party must paddle through distracting primaries before they gun for two dozen Republican seats in play in November. Published January 25, 2016

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Democrats push fixes to 'crushing' student debt

Rising college costs and heaps of student-loan debt are a direct threat to America's future, according to Senate Democrats who proposed legislative fixes Thursday and challenged Republicans to either join them or come up with a plan of their own in a pivotal election year. Published January 21, 2016

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, in this May 12, 2014, file photo. (AP Photo, File)

Top Obamacare official pledges action on failing co-ops

The man in charge of implementing Obamacare told Congress he will take a proactive approach toward nonprofit co-op plans that have failed at a startling rate, pledging to both help co-ops that survived and leverage the Justice Department to seek repayment of taxpayer loans from those that did not. Published January 21, 2016

House Republicans eye reconciliation to trim 2017 budget

House Republicans will write their 2017 budget to the maximum level of spending set out in last year's budget deal, but will try to come back and cut spending later this year using the same fast-track tool they turned to in trying to repeal Obamacare, the House Budget Committee chairman said Wednesday. Published January 20, 2016