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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.

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

Mark Rienzi, senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, is representing Little Sisters of the Poor. (Associated Press/File)

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, Wisconsin Republican, 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) ** 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

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat (Associated Press) **FILE**

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

Secretary of State John Kerry addresses a gathering of the Export-Import Bank at the Omni-Shoreham Hotel in Washington, Thursday, April 24, 2014.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Ex-Im Bank's website: Sorry, no new business

Visitors to the federal Export-Import Bank's website were greeted by a stark message Wednesday that announced its sudden inability to do new business. Published July 1, 2015

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, leaves the chamber after lawmakers failed to advance a short-term funding measure to keep the Department of Homeland Security funded past a midnight deadline at the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 27, 2015. (Associated Press) **FILE**

House Democrats blast GOP leadership on Ex-Im expiration

House Democrats blasted GOP leaders Tuesday for allowing the Export-Import Bank to expire at the stroke of midnight, saying a measure to reauthorize the agency would easily pass both chambers and preserve thousands of jobs. Published June 30, 2015