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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** A draft copy of the 21-page Health and Human Services Department form proposed for use to apply for low-cost insurance from Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program is photographed in Washington on March 12, 2013. (Associated Press)

Feds: Medicaid fraud reached ‘epidemic levels’ in D.C. region

Federal prosecutors said Medicaid fraud has reached “epidemic levels” in the nation’s capital, as they announced charges Thursday against 25 people accused of making claims based on fake symptoms and personal home care that was never performed. Published February 20, 2014

**FILE** Sen. Rob Portman, Ohio Republican (Associated Press)

Sen. Rob Portman: Congress should tread lightly on minimum wage hike

Republican Sen. Rob Portman said Thursday that lawmakers should tread warily in sizing up a Democrat-led proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, citing economic conditions and a new report that says the hike could kill a half-million jobs. Published February 20, 2014

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, stands in front of pheasants that were shot during a hunt hosted by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, in Akron, Iowa. Cruz attended the Iowa GOP's annual fundraising dinner in Des Moines, Iowa, on Friday. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Ted Cruz beats back criticism, defends his debt-limit moves

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz says he has no regrets about opposing a Senate plan to extend the nation's debt limit this month, saying party leaders should have held firm against the measure instead of green-lighting it so they could later claim they voted against it during the final vote. Published February 20, 2014

** FILE ** This Nov. 20, 2013, file photo shows former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Hillary Clinton dominates the 2016 field in Ohio, poll shows

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would trump the rest of the presidential field among Ohio voters in 2016, as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie "is stuck in traffic with other leading Republican contenders," a new poll said. Published February 20, 2014

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper walks past the honor guard as he arrives at the National Palace in Mexico City, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick)

Canada leader to bring up Keystone with Obama

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper spoke Wednesday to officials with the TransCanada company that wants to build the Keystone XL pipeline, shortly before he meets with President Obama at the "Three Amigos" summit in Mexico. Published February 19, 2014

Anti-government protesters clash with riot police in Kiev's Independence Square, the epicenter of the country's current unrest, Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. Thousands of police armed with stun grenades and water cannons attacked the large opposition camp in Ukraine's capital that has been the center of nearly three months of anti-government protests on Tuesday, after at least nine people were killed in street clashes.  (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

Sen. Marco Rubio condemns violence in Ukraine

Rubio on Wednesday urged the Obama administration "to use every diplomatic means at its disposal" to punish Ukraine officials involved in acts of violence amid continuing unrest in Kiev, the capital city. Published February 19, 2014

FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2014 file photo, Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks about a new drug abuse prevention initiative being started for the state at West Carrollton Middle School in West Carrollton, Ohio. Kasich seemed at first to relish the idea he'd be a one-term governor, having presumably alienated partisans, lobbyists, unions and voters as he made painful but necessary changes to government operations. More recently, the 61-year-old Republican has taken on a more conciliatory, politically moderate approach that observers say could be intended to position him for re-election in his perennially purple state or for a repeat run for president. (AP Photo/Al Behrman, File)

Ohio Gov. John Kasich's lead over possible challenger tightens: survey

Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich enjoys a positive job approval rating but hasn't been able to shake his possible Democratic challenger, the "largely unknown" Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald, according to a Quinnipiac University survey. Published February 19, 2014

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., along with GOP leadership, speaks to the media after the Senate passed the debt ceiling plan, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C., Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011. (Drew Angerer/The Washington Times)

Stimulate job growth with Keystone XL, not minimum-wage hike: Sen. Thune

Sen. John Thune said Wednesday there is "low-hanging fruit" to stimulate job growth — the Keystone XL oil pipeline project for one — that would help Americans climb out of tough economic times without accepting a Democrat-led bid to increase the minimum wage. Published February 19, 2014

Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi  (Associated Press)

Democrats file brief in Obamacare exchange subsidies lawsuit

Top Democrats who orchestrated the new health care law said they always intended for those in the health exchanges to be eligible for subsidies no matter whether they enrolled through a federal or state program — a key issue in an ongoing lawsuit over Obamacare. Published February 18, 2014

Committee member Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., listens to testimony before a Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources on proposed nationwide drilling rules on hydraulic fracturing at the Capitol in Denver on Wednesday, May 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

Rush for the exits: Rep. Holt latest to bow out of Congress

Mr. Holt, a former arms control expert at the State Department and research director at Princeton University, arrived on Capitol Hill in 1999 served as chairman of the Select Intelligence Oversight Panel from 2007 to 2011. Published February 18, 2014