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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.

FEC Commissioner Ann Ravel fought back against allegations that Democrats had proposed regulations for Internet politicking. (Associated Press)

FEC deadlocks on wealthy donor giving limits

The Federal Election Commission stalemated Thursday on writing new campaign finance rules to limit wealthy donors' spending in federal elections, virtually ensuring next year's elections will be fought under the current rules that the Supreme Court has written in several major decisions this decade. Published May 21, 2015


Senate would put colleges on hook for student loan default

College and universities that churn out students who default on their federal loans should be forced to bear some of the brunt of those costs, senators said Wednesday in a bipartisan push to try to make schools with high student default rates have to put "skin in the game." Published May 20, 2015

The birth control pill remains the most common method of female contraception in the U.S.  (Associated Press) **FILE**

Court refuses to rehear Obamacare contraception case

A federal appeals court said Wednesday it will not reconsider a pro-life ministry's plea for relief from Obamacare's birth control mandate, dealing a second blow in as many days to religious nonprofits who say the administration is ignoring its strongly held beliefs and signals from the Supreme Court. Published May 20, 2015

This image provided by the Department of Health and Human Services shows a portion of the Website. Republican or Democrat, the next president will have the chance to remake the nation’s health care overhaul without fighting Congress. The law signed by President Barack Obama includes a waiver that, starting in 2017, would let states take federal dollars now invested in the overhaul and use them to redesign their own health care systems. (AP Photo/HHS)

Only 150K penalty payers signed up for Obamacare during extra time

Only 150,000 customers signed up for Obamacare coverage on the website between March 15 and April 30, the administration said Tuesday, shedding light on how many people took advantage of extra time to sign up for coverage and avoid the tax penalty for being uninsured. Published May 19, 2015

FILE - In this Aug. 21, 2014 file photo shows health care tax forms 8962 and1095-A, in Washington. As the April 15 tax deadline nears, people who got help paying for health insurance under President Barack Obama's law are seeing the direct effect on their refunds _ hundreds of dollars, for better or worse. With subsidies tied to income, consumers must accurately estimate what they will make for the coming year _ and that's been a challenge. Guess on the low side, get more help now with premiums, but owe money later at filing time. Overestimate income, expect bucks back from the taxman. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

One in four Americans who got insurance still can't afford medical care: Study

One in four people who bought health insurance on their own couldn't afford medical care last year, according to a study released Thursday that shows out-of-pockets costs are still getting between Americans and their doctors despite Obamacare's progress in cutting the ranks of the uninsured. Published May 14, 2015

A remembrance day ceremony takes place at the near completed ceramic poppy art installation by artist Paul Cummins entitled 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' in the dry moat of the Tower of London in London, Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014. The finished installation will be made up of 888,246 ceramic poppies, with the final poppy being placed on Armistice Day today. Each poppy represents a British and Commonwealth military fatality from World War I. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

WWI commission plans contest to design long-awaited memorial

Students, architects and even amateur designers who have a vision for what the national World War I memorial should look like will get their shot this summer, according to the body charged with honoring those who served in the Great War. Published May 14, 2015

Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott speaks during during the Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA) Leaders Forum in the Woodland Hills area of Los Angeles on April 13, 2015. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Rick Scott, Florida governor, pleads with Capitol Hill GOP to back him in Medicaid fight

Florida Gov. Rick Scott personally pleaded with Capitol Hill Republicans Tuesday to hold hearings, write letters or can do whatever they can to back his fight to renew federal funding that pays hospitals for treating the poor and illegal immigrants, even as the administration pushes him -- kicking and screaming -- to expand Medicaid instead. Published May 12, 2015

The abortion bill the House takes up Wednesday, written by Rep. Trent Franks, Arizona Republican, also includes language designed to head off repeats of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, who ran an abortion clinic in Philadelphia and is now serving a life term for killing three babies born alive at his practice, as well as an adult patient. Wednesday's vote is timed to coincide with the second anniversary of Gosnell's conviction. (Associated Press)

Republicans push bill to ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy

House Republicans are set to muscle through a revamped abortion bill Wednesday that bans the controversial procedure after 20 weeks of pregnancy, insisting they've finally settled an internal GOP fight that capsized a similar bill in January. Published May 12, 2015

New York State Attorney Eric Schneiderman speaks May 5, 2015, during a Law Day event at the Court of Appeals in Albany. (Associated Press) **FILE**

N.Y. AG wants to make Obamacare birth-control mandates state law

New York's top lawman proposed legislation Monday to write Obamacare's birth-control requirements into state law, extending no-cost services even to men as watchdogs accused insurers of violating the spirit -- if not the letter -- of the health overhaul by forcing women to pay out of pocket for their preferred contraceptives. Published May 11, 2015

President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell have tried to distance themselves from economist's Jon Gruber's "stupid Americans" remark. (Associated Press)

HHS rewrites Obamacare rules: Orders free birth control for all

The Obama administration on Monday ordered all insurers to provide IUDs, the contraceptive patch and other birth control free of out-of-pocket charge to all women, thereby rewriting the rules after reports that some insurance carriers were refusing to cover all types of contraceptives. Published May 11, 2015

L. Ray Roberts, left stands with his daughters Helena Roberts, 11, center, and her sister Cassie Boyle, 8, right, all from Pittsburgh, on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, March 4, 2015, as the court hears 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. The sisters are holding pictures of their grandmother Hannah Brown, who died when she was 58 years old. Their grandmother lost her job and healthcare and died a year and half later because of lack of access to treatment. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Most want Supreme Court to uphold Obamacare subsidies: poll

More than half of Americans would like the Supreme Court to uphold Obamacare's subsidies in all 50 states, according to a poll released Monday that also finds only one in 10 people are quite confident the justices will decide a pivotal health case this June objectively. Published May 11, 2015