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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 Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Associated Press/File)

Senate approves Jan. 27 deadline to draft Obamacare repeal legislation

Senate Republicans on Thursday imposed a deadline on their plans to dismantle President Obama's health care law, saying Americans are demanding relief from rising prices and dwindling choices even if the path toward a replacement is politically perilous. Published January 11, 2017

 In this Oct. 24, 2016, file photo, the 2017 web site home page as seen in Washington. On Jan. 20, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order that takes aim at the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act, which requires Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty to the government at tax time. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) **FILE**

Obamacare signups reach 11.5 million, outpacing previous year

The latest round of Obamacare sign-ups is running ahead of pace compared to a year earlier, the administration said Tuesday, providing backup for Democrats who say the law isn't spiraling out of control and only needs fixes, not a full repeal. Published January 10, 2017

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell (Associated Press) **FILE**

HHS's Burwell to GOP: Delayed health plan is not what Americans deserve

President Obama's top health official on Monday used her final public defense of Obamacare to accuse Republicans of scheming to cut benefits under the banner of "state flexibility," while daring them to devise a plan that doesn't take a step backward on health care. Published January 9, 2017

President-elect Donald Trump

Trump blames Democrats' weak cyberdefenses, sees no need to penalize Putin

President Obama and senior congressional Republicans said Sunday it is clear that Russia hacked emails to interfere with the U.S. election, but President-elect Donald Trump rejected talk of punishing Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying Democrats and the White House invited attacks through weak cyberdefenses. Published January 8, 2017

President Barack Obama leaves a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017, about his signature health care law with members of Congress. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Obama: I'll back GOP health plan if it's better than mine

President Obama on Friday openly dared Republicans to craft a better health care plan than his signature overhaul, saying he will concede the mantle of reform if they can cover as many people, keep costs down and produce a stable marketplace. Published January 6, 2017

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. holds his copy of insurance premium statistics during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Obamacare battle: Americans divided on plan to repeal first, replace later: Poll

The American public remains deeply divided over Obamacare, but only 1 in 5 back a Republican plan first to repeal the law, then to come up with a replacement, according to a timely poll that says most people want Congress to have a firm alternative in hand before it pulls the plug on the existing system. Published January 6, 2017

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., listens during a news conference on President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Nancy Pelosi, allies prep for war over Obamacare, Planned Parenthood

House Democrats and their nonprofit allies accused Republicans Thursday of launching a two-pronged assault on women's health care by using fast-track budget rules to repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood over its abortion practice. Published January 5, 2017

From left, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., chair of the House Republican Conference, Vice President-elect Mike Pence, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of La., meet with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017, following a closed-door meeting with the GOP caucus to discuss repeal of President Obama's health care law now that the GOP is in charge of White House and Congress. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

GOP wins first Obamacare fight in Senate budget vote

Republicans won the first skirmish in the Obamacare repeal fight Wednesday, voting to begin debate on fast-track procedures that would allow them to kill the 2010 health law without having to face a Democratic filibuster in the Senate. Published January 4, 2017

Vice President-elect Mike Pence speaks to members of the media as he arrives at Trump Tower in New York, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Mike Pence: Donald Trump ready to use pen to ease Obamacare transition

House Republicans emerged from a meeting with Vice President-elect Mike Pence Wednesday pledging to repeal and replace Obamacare in an orderly way, even signaling that Donald Trump is ready and willing to use his pen to stabilize the transition to a new program. Published January 4, 2017

Two-month-old Inti Perez, diagnosed with microcephaly linked to the mosquito-borne Zika virus, is cradled by his mother in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. (Associated Press)

Zika largely spares U.S. as virus wreaks havoc worldwide

The Zika virus roared onto the scene last year as the scourge of the summer, but it's slinking off the radar as 2017 dawns, having left far less devastation in the U.S. than analysts had warned. Published January 3, 2017

Mylan had raised the price from $100 for an EpiPen twin pack in 2009 to more than $600 in 2016. (Associated Press)

EpiPen price outrage could bring more changes under Donald Trump

Congressional outrage over the soaring cost of EpiPens paved the way for massive civil settlement and a half-price generic alternative to hit the market, but the GOP senator who led the push says there's more work to do in a Trump administration, as Americans continue to suffer from climbing drug prices across the board. Published January 2, 2017