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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.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell departs a governors only luncheon after giving an address during the  National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington on Feb. 22, 2015. (Associated Press) **FILE**

HHS secretary: Supreme Court ruling against Obamacare would harm millions

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell on Monday rebuked critics who want the Supreme Court to invalidate Obamacare's subsidies in much of the country, saying such a ruling would harm millions of Americans who "need, want and like" their health coverage. Published March 9, 2015


GOP newbie Sasse driving Obamacare off-ramp

Freshman Sen. Ben Sasse insists he's not a leading man in the GOP's script to replace Obamacare, but he's playing a key set-up role just three months into his tenure on Capitol Hill. Published March 8, 2015

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius speaks with reporters outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, March 4, 2015. The Supreme Court heard arguments in King v. Burwell, a major test of President Barack Obama's health overhaul which, if successful, could halt health care premium subsidies in all the states where the federal government runs the insurance marketplaces. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Supreme Court tries to make sense of poorly drafted Obamacare language

Supreme Court justices divided sharply Wednesday as they heard a third challenge to Obamacare, grappling with the law's poorly drafted language and trying to decide how broadly Congress intended for the government to pay subsidies to help Americans buy insurance. Published March 4, 2015

FILE - This Jan. 25, 2012, file photo shows the U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington. A Supreme Court case over the legality of federal subsidies that help millions of Americans afford health coverage under President Barack Obama’s health care law poses risks to both political parties. Republicans and conservatives who brought the case say many of those subsidies are illegal. Should they win, the states whose residents would be hurt are disproportionately represented by Republicans in Congress.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Opening shots fired in Obamacare Supreme Court battle

Federal lawmakers staked out partisan positions on the eve of Obamacare's second major showdown before the Supreme Court, with Democrats urging the justices not to create chaos in more than 30 states, while Republicans mapped out an escape route from the contentious health overhaul. Published March 3, 2015

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell wrote a recent letter to Republican leaders defending the Obamacare subsidies. (Associated Press)

Administration prepares for court showdown over Obamacare subsidies

The Obama administration has prepared for Wednesday's Supreme Court showdown by spending an extraordinary amount of time not just arguing the law, but the possible bad outcomes if the justices strike down Obamacare's subsidies in most states. Published March 2, 2015

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio leaves the House chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015, after the House voted to go to conference committee on a long-term "clean" spending bill for the Homeland Security Department hours before a shutdown was to begin.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Conservative rebellion helps sink DHS bill, shutdown looms at midnight

Conservatives rebelled in the House Friday afternoon, joining Democrats to defeat a bill to keep the Homeland Security Department open past a midnight shutdown deadline and leaving funding in doubt as all sides continued to fight over President Obama's deportation amnesty. Published February 27, 2015

Then-Nebraska Republican Senate candidate, now Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., speaks in Lincoln, Neb., in this Oct. 22, 2014, file photo. AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

Ben Sasse outlines off-ramp for Obamacare subsidies case

A freshman Republican senator says he will introduce legislation in the coming days that provides an off-ramp for Americans who would be affected by a Supreme Court ruling this summer that could blow a wide hole in Obamacare. Published February 26, 2015

Let Freedom Ring is gathering signatures for two online petitions calling on Mr. Obama to reveal prior to the election his plans for the 2015 Obamacare premium figures. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick, File)

Congress' Obamacare self-exemption OK, judge rules

A D.C. judge has dismissed a lawsuit that claimed Congress overstepped its bounds when it allowed lawmakers and staff to enroll in an Obamacare exchange set up for small employers in the nation's capital. Published February 26, 2015

Sen. Lamar Alexander, Tennessee Republican, said states are tired of Washington calling the shots when it comes to what teachers learn and how they are evaluated. (Associated Press)

Lamar Alexander, Senate Republicans to test Obama's bipartisanship

A key Republican said Wednesday the Senate GOP will fast-track two conservative priorities — a bill that shields states from Common Core or other national education standards and a state alternative to Obamacare exchanges — as they seek to test President Obama's bipartisanship. Published February 25, 2015

Some taxpayers were shocked at the minimum $95 penalty for not having insurance in 2014. Many say they will not pay the fine. (associated press)

Taxpayers duck Obamacare tax, snubbing IRS

Taxpayers are already telling their accountants they plan to stiff the IRS on the Obamacare tax, saying they figure the chances the agency comes after them for a few hundred bucks are pretty slim, and it makes sense to take the risk. Published February 25, 2015


Obamacare subsidy error forces thousands to re-file taxes

Tax season just got more complicated for hundreds of thousands of Americans, as the Obama administration scrambles to fix an error affecting one out of every five Obamacare customers who received government subsidies to help them pay for coverage on Published February 22, 2015

In this Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015, photo, a laptop shows the web site during an Affordable Care Act enrollment event at the Fort Worth Public Library in Fort Worth, Texas. For the second year in a row, millions of Americans have signed up for subsidized health insurance under President Barack Obama's law. But as the 2015 sign-up season draws to a close Sunday, the future of the Affordable Care Act remains in doubt.  (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Obamacare officials admit blunder: 800K got faulty tax info from federal website

Bowing to intense pressure, the Obama administration said Friday it will give uninsured Americans exposed to Obamacare's tax for lacking insurance a six-week grace period to enroll in coverage on and avoid heftier penalties next year, even though they missed last weekend's deadline to sign up. Published February 20, 2015

The website, where people can buy health insurance, is seen on a laptop screen in Portland, Ore., in this Nov. 12, 2014, file photo. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)

Many uninsured are ignorant of Obamacare mandate tax and lapsed coverage deadline: survey

More than four out of every 10 people likely to be sanctioned for not having health insurance in 2014 heard "nothing or only little" about the Obamacare tax penalty, according to a new study that underscores the potential backlash administration officials could face from uninsured Americans before the April 15 tax deadline. Published February 19, 2015

FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2014 file photo, the website, where people can buy health insurance, is seen on a laptop screen in Portland, Ore. Droves of people signing up for health insurance this weekend may not realize it, but their coverage under President Barack Obama’s law could be short lived. The 2015 enrollment season, which ends Sunday, thus far has avoided last year’s website meltdown. But a Supreme Court case could result in millions of consumers losing financial assistance for their premiums later in the year. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)

Vermont the 3rd state to offer relief for Obamacare penalty payers

Uninsured Vermonters who realize they must pay a special tax for lacking health insurance in 2014 can enroll in the state's health exchange even though they missed Obamacare's signup deadline, the state announced Thursday, making it the third state to extend relief to penalty payers. Published February 19, 2015