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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Senate Dems to GOP: What's your plan to fix crumbling highways?

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Senate Democrats urged Republicans Thursday to reveal their plan for a long-term extension of highway funds, saying the lack of a clear strategy is sowing uncertainty on Capitol Hill and among states that have placed projects on hold. Published July 9, 2015

This Jan. 20, 2012, file photo shows a Happy Meal with french fries and a drink at a McDonald's, in Springfield, Ill. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

FDA delays menu-labeling rules by one year

The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday it will give chain restaurants an extra year to comply with an Obamacare rule requiring chain restaurants to post calorie counts for the foods they sell. Published July 9, 2015

Rep. John Kline, R-Minn. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File)

House narrowly passes rewrite of No Child Left Behind

House Republicans brushed aside a White House veto threat Wednesday and passed a rewrite of the No Child Left Behind law by just five votes, muscling through an education overhaul that shifts power from the federal government to the states after a legislative false start earlier this year. Published July 8, 2015

Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat. (Associated Press)

Capitol Hill spending clashes revive shutdown fears

Congress returned from its July 4 recess Tuesday fumbling for a way to avert a second government shutdown in three years, as GOP majorities forged ahead with spending bills that President Obama has threatened to veto, saying they're insufficient to meet the nation's needs and are beholden to misguided spending caps. Published July 7, 2015

Hillary Rodham Clinton, a former first lady, senator and secretary of state. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Voter ID laws' impact on election turnout unclear as Democrats allege disenfranchisement

Hillary Rodham Clinton and her Democratic allies are shining a bright light on voter ID laws and other perceived roadblocks to the ballot box, yet drawing a straight line from laws designed to crack down on fraud to low turnout in a single contest is notably difficult, analysts say, and data on the most recent elections tend to lag behind the fast-moving debate. Published July 5, 2015