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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.

**FILE** President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius leave the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington on Feb. 10, 2012, after the president announced the revamp of his contraception policy requiring religious institutions to fully pay for birth control. (Associated Press)

Obama admin. easing contraception mandate in health law

The Obama administration on Friday rolled out a revised rule that gives religious institutions the option to divorce themselves from a mandate in the president's health care law that requires insurance plans to cover contraception for their employees. Published February 1, 2013

** FILE ** Rep. Sam Graves, Missouri Republican and chairman of the Small Business Committee. (Associated Press)

Top Republican hits health care law's burden on small businesses

A key House Republican is warning that the mandate in President Obama's health care law requiring companies with more than 50 employees to provide adequate health insurance to their workers is so cumbersome that even the parts designed to help firms with compliance will cause headaches. Published February 1, 2013

**FILE** Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican (Associated Press)

Bipartisan bill seeks to alter Obamacare

A Republican and a Democrat teamed up Wednesday to announce a bill to dissolve part of President Obama's health care law that critics say skews some of the benefits to hospitals in Massachusetts, at the expense of other states. Published January 30, 2013

**FILE** President Obama stands with (from left) Dr. Mona Mangat of St. Petersburg, Fla.; Dr. Hershey Garner of Fayetteville, Ark.; Dr. Richard Evans of Dover-Foxcroft, Maine; and Dr. Amanda McKinney of Beatrice, Neb., in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on Oct. 5, 2009, during an event with doctors from around the country to discuss health care reform. (Associated Press)

U.S. facing shortage of 16,000 doctors as health care act kicks in

The United States needs 16,000 more primary care physicians to meet its current health care needs, a problem that will only get worse if nothing is done to accommodate millions of newly-insured residents under President Obama's health care law in the coming decade, according to a Senate report released Tuesday. Published January 29, 2013

"In the president's first term, we argued against big government in theory. In his second, we will argue against it in practice," said Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, signaling the GOP is turning its focus. (Associated Presss)

Tactics change in health law fight

In stark contrast to the last congressional session, Republican lawmakers have introduced only a handful of bills to strike down or dismantle President Obama's health care law in the first weeks of the new Congress — the latest indication that the epicenter of debate over "Obamacare" has shifted to the nation’s statehouses. Published January 28, 2013

** FILE ** People enter the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on the campus of Catholic University in Washington. (The Washington Times)

Catholic Univ. to continue fighting birth-control mandate

Catholic University officials will continue to fight a mandate in President Obama's health care law that requires the school to provide insurance coverage for contraception, the school said Monday, even though a federal judge dismissed their lawsuit against the government as premature. Published January 28, 2013

** FILE ** Tea party supporter William Temple of Brunswick, Ga., protests President Obama's health care law outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on Thursday, June 28, 2012. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Oklahoma risks IRS penalties on health care

The Internal Revenue Service flatly ignored Oklahoma's "sovereign choice" to reject a key portion of President Obama's health care law, exposing the state to burdensome penalties despite its willful strategy to avoid the sanctions by following the letter of the law, the state's top lawyer said in court papers filed Friday. Published January 26, 2013

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island Democrat (The Washington Times)

‘Bipartisan’ task force on climate change one party short

Two Democrats on Capitol Hill are seconding President Obama's call for real political muscle to address climate change and vowed to form a bipartisan task force — but they haven't found any Republican takers yet. Published January 24, 2013

**FILE** Rep. Henry A. Waxman, California Democrat (Associated Press)

Hill Democrats seek allies for Obama climate push

A pair of Democrats on Capitol Hill are joining President Obama's call to put real political muscle into the fight to address climate change and vowed to form a bipartisan task force — but they haven't found any Republican takers yet. Published January 24, 2013

GOP divided over Obama's Medicaid money offer

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer shocked many observers this month by opting to expand the Medicaid program in her state as part of President Obama's health care law, saying it was a good economic deal, even as her Republican counterparts in states like Georgia flatly rejected the option. Published January 23, 2013

** FILE ** Tea party supporter William Temple of Brunswick, Ga., protests President Obama's health care law outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on Thursday, June 28, 2012. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

'Obamacare' contraception mandate hits legal hurdles

President Obama's mandate that most private companies provide health insurance plans that cover the costs of contraceptives has met with considerable headwinds in the legal system, where nine of the 14 federal courts to rule so far have sided with employers who say the mandate violates their beliefs and infringes on their religious liberties. Published January 17, 2013

"Kudos to the President for agreeing to a small but larger than life sign of his commitment to the District and its residents," said Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District's non-voting member of Congress. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Obama to use D.C. 'taxation' plates on his limo

President Obama has agreed to place license plates on his presidential limousine that call attention to the District’s lack of voting rights in Congress, White House officials said Tuesday. Published January 15, 2013

D.C. Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan (right) testifies Monday at the Board of Elections on his opposition to a referendum that could give the city more budget freedom from Congress. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

D.C. elections board approves budget autonomy referendum

The D.C. Board of Elections on Tuesday rejected arguments from the city's top lawyer and will let voters decide this spring if they want to divorce the city's local budget from the spending process on Capitol Hill — a long-sought goal known as "budget autonomy." Published January 8, 2013

D.C. Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan (The Washington Times)

Panel OKs plebiscite on budget autonomy

The D.C. Board of Elections on Tuesday rejected arguments from the city's top lawyer and will let voters decide this spring if they want to divorce the city's local budget from the spending process on Capitol Hill — a long-sought goal known as "budget autonomy." Published January 8, 2013

D.C. Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan (right) testifies Monday at the Board of Elections on his opposition to a referendum that could give the city more budget freedom from Congress. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

D.C. AG says budget autonomy referendum is wrong approach

D.C. Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan asked city election officials on Monday to reject a ballot question designed to free the city's local budget from the grip of Congress, citing the maneuver's shaky legal ground and potential backlash from powerful politicians on Capitol Hill. Published January 7, 2013

**FILE** Rep. Michele Bachmann, Minnesota Republican (Associated Press)

States surrender to health care law, set up exchanges

President Obama's signature health care reforms are accelerating into the new year, with a growing number of state-run insurance markets getting the green light from the federal government, even as critics decry the law as a dagger to small businesses and a tea party icon attempts to repeal it for the 34th time. Published January 6, 2013

The U.S. Capitol building is seen Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, in Washington. The six Democrats and six Republicans on the supercommittee, as it's familiarly called, have until next Wednesday, Nov. 23, to come together on a deficit reduction plan. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

GOP eyes shutdown as ‘fiscal sanity’ jolt

The appetite for a government shutdown is growing among Republicans, who shied away from one during the debt and spending fights in the last Congress but now say one may be needed. Published January 4, 2013