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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 ** 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** 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

**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. David Vitter, Louisiana Republican (Associated Press)

GOP rallies support to end Congress's Obamacare exemption

Rep. Phil Gingrey, Georgia Republican, introduced a bill Tuesday that would reverse the Obama administration's decision to let members of Congress and their staffs retain an employer subsidy that will pay for the lion's share of their health premiums even as they enter new health exchanges tied to Obamacare. Published September 10, 2013

White House press secretary Jay Carney gestures during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, Monday, Sept., 9, 2013. The White House is "highly skeptical" of the Russian proposal to allow international inspectors into Syria to examine that country's chemical weapons stockpile, Carney said. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Obama will stick to case for strike, yet explore diplomacy, W.H. spokesman says

White House spokesman Jay Carney says President Obama will continue to press his case for a U.S. military strike in Syria during his address to the nation late Tuesday, arguing the credible threat of intervention is the only reason Russia and Syrian President Bashar Assad are trying to forge a diplomatic solution. 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