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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.

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District's non-voting congressional representative, said she had no confirmation of the language of a rider and that Democrats assured her Tuesday afternoon that negotiations were continuing on the matter. (Associated Press)

Congress axes D.C. marijuana legalization in spending plan

A voter approved ballot initiative legalizing marijuana in the District and a council-passed measure decriminalizing the drug fell victim to federal budget negotiators, who inserted an amendment into a massive $1.1 trillion spending bill that effectively restores criminal penalties for pot possession in the nation's capital. Published December 9, 2014

Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber said the health care bill was written in a "tortured" way to ensure the Congressional Budget Office didn't score the individual mandate as a tax, even though the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately upheld the mandate as constitutional under Congress' taxing power. "Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage," Mr. Gruber said at the time. "And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to get the thing to pass." (Associated Press)

Gruber to face hostile House panel, tea party 'I'm with Stupid' T-shirts

A tea party group said its members will greet Jonathan Gruber, the man at the center of Obamacare's troubled public image, with T-shirts reading "I'm with Stupid" when he shows up to defend himself Tuesday before what's likely to be a hostile congressional panel. Published December 8, 2014

Obamacare supporters have labeled it the "primary care cliff," and say it would be a disaster for the health of 22 million poor Americans if the country goes over the Sept. 30 deadline without finding more money for the programs. "It will precipitate a huge crisis in primary care," said Sen. Bernard Sanders, Vermont independent. (Associated Press)

Obamacare nears 'primary care cliff,' with programs serving poor set to expire

Republicans won't need to lift a finger to make a dent in at least three Obamacare programs. The trio of primary care programs, which serves poor Americans, is due to expire at the end of this fiscal year unless Congress finds more funding. But keeping the programs alive could be a tough sell amid a political climate still sour on President Obama's signature health law. Published December 7, 2014

Ebola health care workers carry the body of a man suspected of dying from the Ebola virus in a small village Gbah on the outskirts of  Monrovia, Liberia, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014. A U.N. peacekeeper who contracted Ebola in Liberia will be flown to the Netherlands for treatment, a Dutch Health Ministry spokeswoman said Friday.  (AP Photo/ Abbas Dulleh)

U.N. warns of Ebola outbreak's aftermath

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Friday that Ebola is devastating West African economies that had been "vibrant and growing" before the outbreak hit, and that more than 3,000 children have been orphaned because of the virus. Published December 5, 2014

Passage of a defense bill would put an official stamp on the contentious debate over how and where to recognize World War I by authorizing sculptural and landscape changes to Pershing Park, named for WWI Gen. John J. Pershing, so it can honor American soldiers who fought in the 1914-1918 war. (Washington Times)

Defense bill would create WWI memorial

A massive defense bill introduced in Congress contains a provision that would designate Pershing Park in the District as a national World War I memorial, putting an official stamp on the contentious debate over how and where to recognize the Great War. Published December 3, 2014

FILE - This Nov. 12, 2014 file photo shows the HealthCare.gov website, where people can buy health insurance, on a laptop screen, shown in Portland, Ore. Consumers in most places will see their health insurance premiums go up next year for popular plans under President Barack Obama’s health care law.  But it will take time to get to a bottom line for family finances, let alone the larger political battle over the program’s future. For many people, government subsidies will cushion the hit. And there’s a new factor: returning customers who are savvy about health insurance and unafraid to shop for a better deal.   (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

Obamacare enrollment at 765K after Week 2

About 765,000 people have chosen a private health plan on the federal Obamacare marketplace since year-two enrollment began on Nov. 15, the Obama administration reported Wednesday. Published December 3, 2014

Health spending rose 3.6 percent in 2013

Health spending grew by 3.6 percent last year, the lowest mark recorded in the last half-century as modest growth tracks with an economy that's still recovering from the recession, the Obama administration said Wednesday. Published December 3, 2014

The John J. Pershing Memorial in Pershing Park, located in downtown Washington, D.C., is seen here. (Wikipedia)

Defense bill authorizes WWI memorial at park near White House

A national defense bill released late Tuesday designated Pershing Park in downtown Washington as a national World War I memorial, putting an official stamp on the contentious debate over how and where to recognize the Great War and put it on par with other 20th century conflicts memorialized in the capital. Published December 3, 2014

President Barack Obama speaks at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014 in Bethesda, Md.  Obama visited NIH to highlight advances in research for an Ebola vaccine and push Congress to approve his request for $6.2 billion to fight the disease and prevent its spread in the U.S. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Obama presses Congress to approve Ebola funding request: 'Isn't close to being over'

President Obama on Tuesday hailed U.S. efforts to develop a vaccine for Ebola and pleaded with Congress to pass his $6.2 billion request to combat the virus at home and abroad, warning that while efforts in the West African hot zone have shown progress, the fight is “not even close to being over.” Published December 2, 2014

A White House official said Sunday night that President Obama will hold three meetings Monday focusing on police tactics in minority communities as protests persist over a grand jury's refusal to indict a white police officer for the shooting death of a black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri. (Associated Press)

Obama enters Ferguson fray, plans meetings on police tactics in minority communities

The Missouri police officer at the heart of a racial controversy roiling the nation decided to resign because of threats against the Ferguson Police Department and its officers, his attorney said Sunday, hours before the White House announced President Obama would enter the raging debates prompted by the Ferguson shooting with a series of White House events. Published November 30, 2014

In this March 24, 2014 file photo, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick reacts as he speaks at a leadership forum in Boston. The state that served as a template for President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act had significant trouble coordinating with the federal government. The Massachusetts state-run health insurance website, designed by the same contractor that worked on the troubled federal website, performed so poorly that it prompted a public apology from Gov. Patrick. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

Gov. Deval Patrick: Obama faces balancing test amid Ferguson furor

Outgoing Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said Sunday that President Obama probably wants to visit Ferguson, Missouri, and comfort the family of Michael Brown, but his hands are tied because the Justice Department is steeped in a civil rights probe of the incident. Published November 30, 2014