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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.

D.C. Circuit won't rehear 'origination clause' suit against Obamacare

A federal appeals court on Friday said it will not reconsider a 2014 ruling that held Obamacare didn't violate the Constitution's "origination clause" requiring the House to kickstart revenue-raising bills, despite the law's tax on people who do not obtain health insurance. Published August 7, 2015

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, speaks as Jeb Bush listens during the first Republican presidential debate at the Quicken Loans Arena Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) ** FILE **

Donald Trump: 'I don't think I could have done any better'

Businessman Donald Trump offered few regrets Friday about his GOP debate performance the prior night, saying he handled the spotlight with poise and got the crowd into it despite a "setup" against him on stage. Published August 7, 2015

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky speaks to the media during a news conference following a Senate policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) ** FILE **

Mitch McConnell eyes breakthroughs in thorny fall agenda

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell kicked off an August recess Thursday by chiding President Obama for his partisan rhetoric around the nuclear deal with Iran, saying the issue will require sober debate when lawmakers return after Labor Day. Published August 6, 2015

Banned Medicaid providers defy Obamacare rule, operate in other states: IG

Health providers banned from state Medicaid programs for fraud or other serious reasons are still doing business in other states despite Obamacare's prohibition on the practice, according to a government audit that said $7 million in payments would have been withheld if the states had a better way to communicate. Published August 5, 2015

Sen. James Lankford, Oklahoma Republican, leaves a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 29, 2015, where Planned Parenthood was discussed. (Associated Press)

Senate GOP bill protects opponents of Obama birth-control rules

Senate Republicans filed a bill Tuesday that would bar the government from forcing employers to insure drugs and services that violate their moral beliefs, a move that taps into renewed debate over religious liberty, abortion and the persistent legal fight over Obamacare's birth-control mandate. Published August 4, 2015

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, listens to remarks while addressing the media after a policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 21, 2015. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Senate passes multiyear highway bill, must negotiate with House this fall

The Senate passed a long-sought highway deal Thursday that authorizes projects for six years while paying for only half of it with a patchwork of funding streams, setting up a bid this fall to meld the plan with a roads bill from the House that would rely on tax reform instead. Published July 30, 2015

Insolvency feared for Obamacare co-ops after $376 million in losses in first year

Obamacare's co-ops, designed to give more choices for insurance, lost hundreds of millions of dollars in their first year and didn't attract anywhere near as many customers as they had hoped, meaning they may go insolvent and default on taxpayer-funded loans, according to a government audit released Thursday. Published July 30, 2015

FILE - In this July 9, 2015 file photo, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Department of Veterans Affairs faces a serious numbers problem _ multiple in fact. It can't count how many veterans died while waiting to sign up for health care. It says some VA hospitals may have to close if the agency can't get $2.5 billion. And a year after scandal rocked the department, congressional Republicans want to know why the number of employees fired is so low. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

House, Senate find a way forward on highways

House Republicans said Tuesday they will vote on a three-month highway bill to keep road projects moving past Friday's funding deadline, offering a way out of a standoff with Senate leaders who barreled ahead with their own, multi-year bill before Congress leaves town next month. Published July 28, 2015

President Obama shakes hands with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn after arriving at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport Sunday. Mr. Obama is the first sitting U.S. president to visit Ethiopia. His trip also included a stop in Kenya, the homeland of his late father. (Associated Press)

On trip to Africa, Obama champions rights for women, gays

President Obama arrived in Ethiopia late Sunday hoping to find common ground with East African leaders on combating terrorism and finding a way forward on the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan -- a hard-sell mission on the heels of a personal visit to Kenya, where he reached into a grab bag of American history to push an evolving nation into making progress on corruption and the rights of women and gay people. Published July 26, 2015

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's new highway spending bill is already on the skids, with both Democrats and Republicans questioning $47 billion in fees and penalties the legislation counts on to fund new road-building over the next three years. (Associated Press)

Obamacare repeal loses, Ex-Im bank wins in GOP-held Senate votes

A procedural vote Sunday to repeal Obamacare couldn't win over a majority of the GOP-led Senate, while a bid to revive an obscure exports agency succeeded, delivering twin blows to conservatives as they navigated a thorny path toward a highway bill that's raised questions about civility and Republican discord in the august chamber. Published July 26, 2015