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Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

Articles by Tom Howell Jr.

Carlos Franco looks at mosquitoes through a microscope to identify their genus and species at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven, Conn., on June 7, 2016. (Arnold Gold/New Haven Register via AP)

First Zika vaccine trials to begin within weeks

The first human trials for a vaccine against the Zika virus will begin within weeks, a pair of pharmaceutical companies said Monday, though a fully approved shot against the mosquito-borne disease could still be over a year away. Published June 20, 2016

FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2016 file photo, Johanna Yanez holds a tube with Aedes aegypti mosquitoes at a laboratory in Cucuta, Colombia. A study out of Colombia offers compelling evidence that Zika-caused birth defects can occur even when infected pregnant women never develop symptoms.   (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan, File)

CDC: Three cases of birth defects in U.S. tied to Zika

Three babies born in the U.S. had birth defects that can be traced to the Zika virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its first-ever update on how the disease is affecting pregnancy outcomes. Published June 16, 2016

House Speaker Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington on June 9, 2016, to unveil the national security plank of the Republican agenda and discuss recommendations from their Congressional National Security Task Force. (Associated Press) **FILE**

House Republicans outline plan to reclaim powers from executive branch

Congress has yielded too much power to a federal bureaucracy that is unaccountable to voters and enabled by deferential courts, House Republicans said Thursday in a plan that seeks to reclaim their power of the purse and force the executive branch to explain its actions. Published June 16, 2016

"This short-term funding resolution will keep the lights on in government and maintain current operations for a few days so Congress can complete and pass an agreement," said Rep. Harold Rogers, Kentucky Republican and chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. (Associated Press)

GOP firm that Zika funds cannot add to deficit

Congressional negotiators are crafting a deal that offers roughly a third to half of President Obama's $1.9 billion request to fight the mosquito-borne Zika virus, but the parties haven't agreed on whether to borrow the money or pay for it now with cuts elsewhere in the massive federal budget. Published June 15, 2016

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is calling for a $1.8 billion project to combat Aedes aegypti. (Associated Press) **FILE**

CDC chief begs Florida delegation for full Zika funding

The chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention begged Congress Wednesday to cough up funding to combat Zika virus, expressing clear frustration with a Florida Republican who accused the administration of failing to spend money it has wisely. Published June 15, 2016

Exterior of the U.S. Capitol (image from Architect of the Capitol) ** FILE **

Medical groups press Congress to move faster on Zika funding

The American Medical Association told Congress Tuesday to stop dragging its feet and post funds to combat the Zika virus, a mosquito-borne virus that causes birth defects and is threatening the U.S. mainland. Published June 14, 2016

House Speaker Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington on June 9, 2016, to unveil the national security plank of the Republican agenda and discuss recommendations from their Congressional National Security Task Force. (Associated Press) **FILE**

House GOP: Scrap bad regulations, fine-tune good ones

Government regulations are important but often go too far, picking winners and losers in the economy and stifling innovation, the House GOP said Tuesday in an economic plan that promotes energy independence, an open internet and the end of taxpayer bailouts for Wall Street. Published June 14, 2016

FILE - In this Jan. 27, 2016, file photo, an Aedes aegypti mosquito is photographed through a microscope at the Fiocruz institute in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil. The World Health Organization says women who live in areas where Zika is spreading should consider delaying pregnancy, since there's no other sure way to avoid the virus' devastating birth defects. The WHO stops short of advising couples to put pregnancy on hold, as some countries battling the outbreak have. Instead, WHO spokeswoman Nyka Alexander says on June 9, that men and women who live in outbreak areas should be given information about the risks of Zika and told that delaying pregnancy is an option. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)

CDC outlines policy to track Zika transmission

The Obama administration on Friday said it doesn't expect the Zika virus to blanket whole states if and when mosquitoes begin to spread the virus on the U.S. mainland, though it wants state officials to map out flareups so that locals can protect themselves. Published June 10, 2016

House Speaker Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington on June 9, 2016, to unveil the national security plank of the Republican agenda and discuss recommendations from their Congressional National Security Task Force. (Associated Press) **FILE**

House passes Puerto Rico debt-rescue bill

The House on Thursday easily passed a bill to rescue Puerto Rico from its massive bond debt, overcoming carping from both the left and right and setting up a final showdown in the Senate. Published June 9, 2016

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan is lobbying Republican colleagues to accept a restructuring of Puerto Rico's debt he negotiated with the White House. (Associated Press)

Island debt package faces bipartisan criticism

Puerto Rico voters sent a signal of displeasure this weekend with the debt rescue package now pending in Congress, but leaders on Capitol Hill are pushing ahead anyway, insisting the bipartisan compromise is the best deal for federal taxpayers and the island territory. Published June 8, 2016

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. faces reporters at Republican National Committee headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington, in this May 24, 2016, file photo. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Paul Ryan emphasizes work, flexibility in anti-poverty plan

House Republicans unveiled a plan Tuesday to attack poverty "at its roots" by rewarding work, improving school programs and tailoring benefits to individual needs, although questions about presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump threatened to overshadow their plans once more. Published June 7, 2016

FILE - in this May 27, 2016 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Fresno, Calif. Trump says he made "a lot of money" in a deal years ago with Moammar Gadhafi, despite suggesting at the time he had no idea the former Libyan dictator was involved in renting his suburban New York estate. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)

Republicans set to unveil election-year policy

House Republicans are preparing to release their election-year agenda beginning Tuesday -- but if history is any judge, don't expect them to make much headway in actually getting most of it done. Published June 6, 2016