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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.

U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry gestures as he speaks to the media about the deal that six world powers and Iran have reached calling for Tehran to limit its nuclear activities in return for sanctions relief, at the International Conference Center of Geneva on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, in Geneva, Switzerland. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, Pool)

Iran nuclear deal faces uphill battle with Congress; Netanyahu sees a 'historic mistake'

The Obama administration put on a full-court press Sunday to defend the deal the U.S. and key allies struck to try to halt Iran's burgeoning nuclear program — but the White House faces a tough sell with members of Congress who criticized the terms and said they'll still press for even tighter sanctions on the Islamic republic. Published November 24, 2013

** FILE ** Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee Republican (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Obama administration talks tough but needs to follow through on Iran: Corker

Sen. Bob Corker said Sunday the overnight deal reached in Geneva to curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for a gradual easing of economic sanctions will be useless if Congress does not hold the Islamic Republic's "feet to the fire" to make sure its leaders do not feel as if they have scored a win. Published November 24, 2013

"The best thing we can do now is to scrap [the Affordable Care Act] and start over with a step-by-step approach that focuses on lower cost and patient-centered solutions," Rep. Michael C. Burgess, Texas Republican and a physician, said in the weekly Republican address about the continued problems with Obamacare in general and the rocky performance of the website. (Associated Press)

Tweaks to Obama care lead to GOP call to start over

Republican lawmakers, agitated by even more tweaks to Obamacare's timeline in the coming months and years, reissued their calls Sunday to replace President Obama's health care law with new reforms. Published November 24, 2013

House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, pauses while meeting with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, before Congress leaves for a two-week Thanksgiving break. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

House GOP leaders greet Iran deal with skepticism

House Speaker John A. Boehner said Sunday an interim deal to curb Iran's nuclear program should be met with "healthy skepticism and hard questions," making it clear he thinks negotiations have just begun. Published November 24, 2013

**FILE** House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (left), Virginia Republican (Associated Press)

Administration stretches another Obamacare deadline

The Obama administration said Friday that customers on the Obamacare health insurance exchange will have eight more days to sign up for health coverage this December and still be covered by Jan. 1. Published November 22, 2013

"It's a complete failure for me. It won't let you progress. It freezes up," Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, says of his attempts to sign up for Obamacare using the website. (associated press)

Obamacare sign-up befuddles congressmen, too

For weeks, Capitol Hill lawmakers have heard stories of both frustration and success from folks back home trying to sign up for Obamacare. Now, lawmakers have their own tales to share. Published November 21, 2013

**FILE** House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (center), Virginia Republican, leaves the office of House Speaker John Boehner, Ohio Republican, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Nov. 15, 2013, before a vote on a measure to let insurers keep offering health coverage that falls short of the law's standards. (Associated Press)

Republicans say new report points to Obamacare security problems

House Republicans on Tuesday used President Obama's damaged credibility and a leaked consultant's report from last spring to launch a fresh round of attacks against all things Obamacare, raising new questions about the testing and security of the federal health insurance marketplace. Published November 19, 2013

** FILE ** Rep. Jim McDermott, Washington Democrat. (Associated Press)

States take up the fight against Obama's changes to health care law

The tumultuous Beltway fight over Americans who lost their health plans because of Obamacare is shifting to the states, where regulators will decide whether to heed President Obama's proposal to let Americans renew their plans — or rebuff him to preserve the core mission of his signature law. Published November 17, 2013

Rep. Fred Upton, Michigan Republican (Associated Press)

House set to vote on Republican fix for Obamacare woes

The House is set to vote on a bill Friday that would let Americans hold health plans in the coming year that do not comply with Obamacare, a key test for Democrats torn between angry constituents who are losing their plans and their own party's remedies — including President Obama's new "fix" that lets existing customers renew their barebones plans. Published November 15, 2013

The main landing page of the website is pictured on Monday, Oct. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Department of Health and Human Services)

Obamacare numbers reveal how fate of law rests on website

The federal Obamacare exchanges cover two-thirds of the country, but accounted for just 25 percent of first-month enrollment in the new health markets, signaling just how closely the fate of President Obama's signature law is intertwined with a broken federal website. Published November 14, 2013

President Barack Obama speaks about his signature health care law, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013, in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington. Bowing to pressure, the president intends to permit continued sale of individual insurance plans that have been canceled because they failed to meet coverage standards under the health care law, officials said Thursday. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Obama concedes, announces changes to health care law

President Obama said Thursday he will let Americans renew for one year any health plans that do not meet Obamacare's coverage standards — a stark attempt to quell the political firestorm around his broken promise that those who like their insurance coverage can keep it under his signature law. Published November 14, 2013

** FILE ** President Obama wipes away sweat during a speech at Georgetown University on June 25, 2013. (Associated Press)

White House releases disappointing Obamacare enrollment total: 106,000

The Obama administration said Wednesday that roughly 106,000 Americans had enrolled in private health coverage through Obamacare by selecting a plan during the first month of activity, an expectedly low number of participants as the White House scrambles to fix the overhaul's main website. Published November 13, 2013

Rep. Darrell E. Issa (center), California Republican, speaks with Obama administration technology officials as they prepare to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about failures with the website and problems implementing Obamacare, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. From left to right are Henry Chao, deputy chief information officer for Medicare and Medicaid services; Frank Baitman, deputy assistant secretary for information technology at the Department of Health and Human Services; Mr. Issa, chairman of the committee; Todd Park, chief technology officer at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; and Steve VanRoekel, chief information officer at the Office of Electronic Government in the Office of Management and Budget. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Only 106,000: Obamacare enrollment falls far short of goal

Only about 106,000 Americans enrolled in Obamacare's health care exchanges during the first month and fewer than 27,000 of those were from the federally run exchanges, the administration said Wednesday, finally releasing numbers showing just how rocky the rollout has been for President Obama's signature initiative. Published November 13, 2013