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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.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio: No, I don't smoke pot

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday he doesn't smoke marijuana and doesn't think it would be a good idea for a man in his position, anyway. Published November 19, 2014

Former Rep. Ron Paul describes his new website as a "digital bully pulpit" for early stage political ideas. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Ron Paul says Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio are 'pretty average'

Ron Paul, a former presidential candidate and longtime congressman, is mum on a potential presidential bid by his son, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. But he does have a few opinions about his son's potential GOP rivals in 2016. Published November 19, 2014

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee Republican, questions witnesses at a House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations into the U.S. response to the Ebola outbreak in November. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

House Republicans push for Ebola travel ban

Despite progress in the fight against Ebola, President Obama said Tuesday the global response is "nowhere near out of the woods yet in West Africa," as skeptical members of Congress renewed their calls for a travel ban and pored over his $6.2 billion request to fund efforts to combat the disease at home and abroad. Published November 18, 2014

President Barack Obama emerges from a tent with Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, left, and former Boston Celtics center Bill Russell, after he got a private viewing of a statue honoring Russell in Boston, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Mass. health exchange seeks Obamacare turnaround

The Obamacare exchange in Massachusetts deemed nearly 12,000 eligible for private health plans or coverage through its Medicaid program during the first weekend of open enrollment — a stark turnaround from web troubles in the commonwealth last year. Published November 17, 2014

Prince William County, Virginia residents use to research health care insurance at the Greater Prince William Community Health Center, Evergreen Terrace Site, in Manassas, Va., Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Obamacare's second act avoids disaster that marred inaugural run

New and returning Obamacare customers started to sign up on the law's marketplace Saturday, logging onto and other insurance portals from their own computers or flocking to enrollment centers for face-to-face help. Published November 15, 2014

President Obama speaks June 4, 2013, in the Rose Garden of the White House while announcing the nominations of (from left) Robert Wilkins, Cornelia Pillard and Patricia Ann Millet to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. (Associated Press)

Federal appeals court rejects challenge to Obamacare on contraceptives

A federal appeals court ruled Friday the Obama administration did not overly burden religious nonprofits by telling them to document their objections to an Obamacare mandate that requires employers to include birth control in their health plans. Published November 14, 2014

This screen shot made Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014 shows the home page of HealthCare,gov, a federal government website managed by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service. The Obama administration says starting this weekend, consumers can get an early peek at 2015 premiums and plans under the president’s health law. Open enrollment starts Nov. 15, a week from Saturday. But Lori Lodes, spokeswoman for, said Friday that consumers will be able to “window shop” for plans before then. (AP Photo)

Administration promises better Obamacare enrollment website this year

The Obama administration said Friday the American public will find a simpler, more reliable when Obamacare's second round of enrollment begins Saturday — a chance for the law's overseers to redeem themselves after last year's failed launch nearly doomed the overhaul in its infancy. Published November 14, 2014

Jonathan Gruber has put the Obama administration in a tough spot as it defends the Affordable Care Act. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber suddenly recast as bit player after uproar

For years, Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Jonathan Gruber was deemed an architect of Obamacare and his economic modeling was cited regularly by the health care law's defenders on Capitol Hill and in legal briefs defending the Affordable Care Act in federal courts. Published November 13, 2014

This photo taken Nov. 27, 2013, in Washington shows part of the website page featuring information about the SHOP Marketplace. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Obamacare's small-business enrollment slow: Government auditors

Enrollment in the Obamacare insurance exchanges for small businesses has been much slower than expected, government auditors said Thursday, as the federally run portals and some state versions failed to offer key features such as online enrollment. Published November 13, 2014