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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.

**FILE** United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (Associated Press)

U.N. ability to seize all chemical weapons in Syria raises Republican doubts

Lawmakers on Sunday hailed the lofty goals of a pact the United States and Russia struck to locate and dismantle Syria's chemical weapons — but questioned whether Obama administration can assure the stockpiles won't be hidden by the Assad regime or seized by radicalized rebel groups. Published September 15, 2013

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, asks a question during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Syria on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Sen. John McCain: Syrian deal does little, relies on Russians

Sen. John McCain on Sunday threw cold water on the deal the United States and Russia have struck to dismantle the Syrian government's chemical weapons stores by 2014, arguing it does nothing to keep the use of force on the table and help the rebels topple an Assad regime accused of gassing its own people. Published September 15, 2013

** FILE ** President Obama speaks in St. Petersburg on Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Obama: My administration stabilized an economy on cusp of depression

President Obama says his administration staved off a dire economic situation when he took office in 2009, even if Americans are still skeptical about the recovery and whether Wall Street is winning while the middle class struggles to get ahead. Published September 15, 2013

** FILE ** Richard L. Trumka, president of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations(Associated Press)

Treasury to unions: No Obamacare carve-outs for you

Despite pressure from top labor leaders, the Obama administration said late Friday it cannot extend government subsidies tied to the new health care law to union members with multi-employer health plans. Published September 14, 2013

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (left) signs a hat reading "New Jersey stronger than the storm" worn by Linda Batcho, of Seaside Park, N.J., on Sept. 13, 2013, as the governor visited the are where a day earlier a massive fire burned a large portion of the Seaside Park boardwalk in Seaside Park, N.J. The fire, which apparently started in an ice cream shop and spread several blocks, hit the recently repaired boardwalk, which was damaged last year by Superstorm Sandy. (Associated Press)

N.J. Gov. Christie thanks neighboring governors for support in wake of fire

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Friday thanked the governors of New York and Connecticut for offering assistance to the help the Garden State rebuild, once more, a section of seaside boardwalk that was destroyed by fire late Thursday — less than a year after it had been torn apart by Superstorm Sandy. Published September 13, 2013

**FILE** Eric Cantor (Associated Press)

Cantor: Clear calendars for spending deal push

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said lawmakers should be ready to work on a short-term spending plan during the last week of September — a week they were supposed to be off — setting up yet another 11th-hour showdown over federal spending in Washington to avert a government shutdown. Published September 12, 2013

Top unions push for Obamacare 'fix'

The nation's top labor organization passed a resolution on Wednesday backing President Obama's new health care law but demanding changes in how it treats union members' multi-employer health insurance plans. Published September 12, 2013

**FILE** President Obama, accompanied by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, announces the revamp of his contraception policy requiring religious institutions to fully pay for birth control on Feb. 10, 2012, at the White House. (Associated Press)

Republicans see security, readiness problems with health care data hub

President Obama's health care law continues to drop in the polls and faces ever more pressure on Capitol Hill, where Republicans on Wednesday said they doubted the data hub at the center of Obamacare either will be ready on time or be secure enough to protect Americans' privacy. Published September 11, 2013

**FILE** Speaker of the House John Boehner, Ohio Republican, and GOP leaders talk to reporters following a Republican strategy session at the Capitol on Sept. 10, 2013. (Associated Press)

GOP critics point to Benghazi amid Sept. 11 ceremonies

While federal lawmakers from both parties remember the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Republicans also point to lingering questions from the attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya one year ago. Published September 11, 2013

**FILE** Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican (Associated Press)

Sen. John McCain: Syrian rebels will feel abandoned

Republican Sen. John McCain said Wednesday President Obama struck an emotional chord with the American public late Tuesday, but he was "very disappointed" that he did not lay out a plan to arm vetted rebel groups fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad. Published September 11, 2013

Sen. Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican, answers questions from the crowd about immigration reform, gay marriage and other topics on March 28, 2013, during a town-hall-style meeting at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz. (Associated Press/The Daily Courier) ** FILE **

Republicans seek 1-year delay for more of Obamacare

Sen. Jeff Flake on Tuesday led a coalition of Republicans in filing a bill to delay by one year any provisions of Obamacare that are set to take effect Jan. 1 or later. Published September 10, 2013

Senate pressed on Obamacare

Top House Republicans on Tuesday challenged Senate Democrats to hold a vote on legislation to defund President Obama's health care law as part of any spending deal this month — but they were facing a potential rebellion within their own ranks because the move wouldn't force an all-or-nothing showdown. Published September 10, 2013

Shamu in "Believe," SeaWorld Orlando Florida

Obamacare casualty: SeaWorld's Shamu

The SeaWorld chain of amusement parks is cutting hours for thousands of its part-time workers from 32 hours per week to 28 hours as of November, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Published September 10, 2013