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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.

Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican and presidential hopeful, speaks at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, on July 18, 2015. (Associated Press)

Ted Cruz takes aim at Congress' Obamacare 'exemption'

Sen. Ted Cruz, a vocal conservative running for president, will push to expose and prevent fellow members of Congress from "exempting" themselves from Obamacare this week, adding sparks to an already-fraught debate over a highway bill that needs to pass by July 31. Published July 20, 2015

Questionable Obamacare claims cost taxpayers $2 billion

More than 700,000 Obamacare customers claimed tax credits for buying health care but didn't bother to file their taxes, potentially jilting the government out of $2 billion in bogus payments, the Senate's senior lawmaker said Monday. Published July 20, 2015

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky speaks in Elizabethtown Ky., in this May 26, 2015, file photo. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)

Congress guts Bush-era No Child Left Behind education plan

Both chambers of Congress have now voted to scrap much of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind education plan, meaning the government will continue to ship billions of dollars to states, but will cut or loosen many of the strings attached to the funding. Published July 16, 2015

Top Senate Dem dismisses GOP's claims of Obamacare fraud

An undercover operation that snuck nearly a dozen fake Obamacare enrollees into taxpayer-subsidized plans is proof the administration will pad the law's numbers at any cost, Republicans charged Thursday, although a top Democrat argued the stark findings didn't amount to real fraud. Published July 16, 2015

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas (Associated Press) **FILE**

Ted Cruz defends 'bold, brash' Donald Trump ahead of sit-down

Sen. Ted Cruz defended fellow presidential candidate Donald Trump Wednesday ahead of his sit-down later in the day with the business mogul, saying the rest of the 2016 field simply is scared of his "bold, brash voice." Published July 15, 2015

Republican Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at the Iowa Faith & Freedom 15th Annual Spring Kick Off, in Waukee, Iowa, Saturday, April 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik) ** FILE **

Ted Cruz and tea partyers: Let the Ex-Im Bank stay dead

Sen. Ted Cruz and other conservatives told GOP leaders Wednesday not to let Congress revive the federal Export-Import Bank, an agency that financed the sale of U.S. goods overseas for decades but is creeping toward a slow death, after lawmakers failed to renew its charter by the June 30 deadline. Published July 15, 2015

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington in this April 21, 2015, file photo. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Watchdog finds potential for fraud in Obamacare subsidies

Fake Obamacare enrollees were able to sign up for subsidized plans and to renew them for a second year, the government's top watchdog reported Wednesday, exposing embarrassing holes and potential fraud in President Obama's signature health care law. Published July 15, 2015

House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., presides over his committee's hearing on President Barack Obama's health care law implementation and the Health and Human Service's Department fiscal 2016 Budget request, Wednesday, June 10, 2015, on Capitol Hill in Washington. At right Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

House GOP pushes 5-month highway funding extension

Key House Republicans have filed legislation to extend federal highway funding for five months, casting it as a way to keep road projects moving beyond a July 31 deadline while buying enough time to fund the six-year bill that both parties want. Published July 14, 2015

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., answers questions during an interview with The Associated Press in his office on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 9, 2015. (Associated Press) **FILE**

House GOP files short-term highway extension

Key House Republicans have posted legislation to extend federal highway funding for five months, casting it as a way to keep road projects moving beyond a July 31 deadline while buying enough time to fund the six-year bill that both parties want. Published July 14, 2015

Lead cousel Mark Rienzi, representing Little Sisters of the Poor, speaks to members of the media after attending a hearing in the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in Denver, Colo., Monday, Dec. 8, 2014. According to a decision issued Tuesday, July 14, 2015 by a federal appeals court in Denver, the federal health care law doesn't burden faith-based nonprofit organizations that object to covering birth control in their employee health plans. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Federal appeals court refuses nuns' plea for relief from birth-control mandate

A federal appeals court ruled against a group of nuns who objected to Obamacare's birth-control mandate Tuesday, disappointing advocates who say the administration is pushing around a religious charity, and who viewed the case as their best remaining shot to force a showdown before the Supreme Court. Published July 14, 2015

Upon announcing his presidential campaign, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said he would work with Congress to repeal Obamacare if elected in 2016. (Associated Press)

Scott Walker says Wisconsin's health plan good for all of America

Led by Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin resisted a full embrace of Obamacare, settling instead on a novel approach that kicked some people off Medicaid while using the health subsidies as a way of making sure residents had some avenue to obtain coverage. Published July 13, 2015

House passes bill to speed up medical cures

The House passed a bill Friday to bolster medical discoveries and speed drugs from the lab to patients, easily overcoming ripples of opposition from both parties. Published July 10, 2015