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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.

The health care blueprint released by Speaker Paul D. Ryan and others would end the heavy mandates and government-run exchanges of Obamacare. (Associated Press)

Paul Ryan's health care blueprint is 'starting point,' House GOP says

House Republicans say their long-awaited plan to replace Obamacare is generating enough buzz to be a springboard for legislative work in 2017, so long as the election goes their way, though members say the election-year proposal is a "starting point" and not a shovel-ready plan. Published July 13, 2016

In this May 11, 2016 photo, University of Massachusetts Medical School nursing student Morgan Brescia, right, and others attend a simulation of treatment for a patient coping with addiction during class at the medical school in Worcester, Mass. Many U.S. medical schools are expanding their training to help students fight opioid abuse. New training programs at many schools teach students to prescribe opioid painkillers only as a last resort, and to evaluate all patients for signs of drug abuse. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Senate advances bill to tackle opioid addiction

A long-awaited bill to combat the prescription painkiller and heroin epidemic breezed through a Senate test vote Wednesday, clearing the way for final passage and President Obama's signature. Published July 13, 2016

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, leaves the House Chamber at the Capitol in Washington on Feb. 27, 2015. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Democratic whip says federal government can play positive role

Partisan paralysis in Congress is poisoning the other branches of government and quashing the voice of everyday Americans, Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer said Monday in a speech that argued secret donors, voter restrictions and craftily drawn House districts have cast a dark cloud over Washington. Published July 11, 2016

FILE - In this Friday, Feb. 12, 2016, file photo, a naloxone nasal injector is demonstrated during a news conference at the Oakley Kroger Marketplace store, in Cincinnati, to announce the supermarket chain's decision to offer the opioid overdose reversal medicine without a prescription. It is becoming easier for friends and family of heroin users or patients abusing strong prescription painkillers to get access to naloxone, a powerful, life-saving antidote, as state lawmakers loosen restrictions on the medicine to fight a growing epidemic. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

House easily passes anti-opioids package

The House easily passed a bill to combat the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic Friday after Democrats who'd demanded more funding beat a retreat, saying they would fight for money another day. Published July 8, 2016

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is calling for a $1.8 billion project to combat Aedes aegypti. (Associated Press) **FILE**

CDC, Democrats make last-ditch plea for more Zika money

The Obama administration and Democratic allies made a last-ditch plea for extra Zika funding Thursday, citing its rapid spread in Puerto Rico and the rising tally of U.S. babies born with defects tied to the disease. Published July 7, 2016

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Treasury cooked up excuse for Obamacare payments, GOP report says

The Obama administration ignored its own advice and forged ahead with Obamacare payments to insurers without permission from Congress, House Republicans said Thursday in a scathing report that says the White House dismissed the Constitution's separation of powers and swiped $7 billion from taxpayers. Published July 7, 2016

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. speaks in Trenton, N.J., on June 10, 2013. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Democrats threaten to oppose opioid plan over funding

Democratic negotiators threatened to oppose an emerging plan to address the nation's prescription opioid and heroin epidemic Wednesday after Republicans rebuffed their attempts to add nearly $1 billion to the deal, raising doubts about yet another effort to address a public health crisis in jeopardy. Published July 6, 2016

In this photo provided by Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., Democratic members of Congress, including Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., center, and Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., left, participate in sit-in protest on the floor of the House on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday, June 22, 2016, seeking a vote on gun-control measures. (Rep. John Yarmuth via AP) ** FILE **

GOP leaders resist Democratic calls for gun votes

House Republican leaders signaled Tuesday they won't cave to Democratic demands for a vote on "no fly, no buy" gun legislation because it would strip people of their constitutional rights and reward the minority party for waging a boisterous sit-in on the chamber floor. Published July 5, 2016

Rio de Janierio Olympic officials are pressing on with preps for the Summer Games, saying that the Southern Hemisphere's winter months will allow time for instituting measures to head off Zika virus concerns. (Associated Press)

NIH plans to enlist U.S. Olympic team for Zika study

The National Institutes of Health said Tuesday it plans to monitor Olympic athletes, coaches and staff for exposure to the Zika virus during the Summer Games in Brazil, calling it an "unique opportunity" to study the mosquito-borne outbreak at its epicenter. Published July 5, 2016

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington in this June 9, 2016, file photo. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)'

Voters insistent Congress needs to do more against Zika

As Americans turned out by the millions for barbecues and fireworks for Monday's July 4 festivities, Republicans were hoping that every mosquito bite will make the patriotic revelers think of the Zika virus — and of Democrats. Published July 4, 2016