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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.

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

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

House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio, left, performs a mock swearing in for Rep. Donna Edwards, Maryland Democrat, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington as the 113th Congress began. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Religious diversity in Congress expands list of holy texts

The Bible and Torah, for years the standard religious texts used to swear in members of Congress, have been joined by the Constitution, the Koran — and, Thursday, for the first time ever, the Hindu Bhagavad-Gita. Published January 3, 2013

Senate welcomes new members

After two years marked with partisan gridlock, the Senate kicked off the new Congress on Thursday with 13 new members and welcomed back Sen. Mark Kirk, who made an emotional return to the Capitol after suffering a stroke almost a year ago. Published January 3, 2013

** FILE ** New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie walks to a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, to talk about aid to help his state recover from superstorm Sandy. President Obama is expected to ask Congress for about $50 billion in additional emergency assistance. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Boehner sets votes on Sandy relief after taking bipartisan criticism

After withering criticism from New Jersey and New York lawmakers, House Speaker John A. Boehner said Wednesday that his chamber will rush immediate Superstorm Sandy relief money through Congress on Friday, and take up a bigger bill by the middle of the month. Published January 2, 2013

Pedestrians, veterans and members of the media walk around the grounds of the newly renovated District of Columbia WWI Memorial after a rededication ceremony in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 10, 2011.
(T.J. Kirkpatrick/ The Washington Times)

Bill leaves out national memorial to WWI veterans

Congress approved a bill on Monday that makes sure the 100-year anniversary of World War I is recognized in the coming years, but a long-sought memorial to Americans who fought and died in the Great War is not part of the deal. Published December 31, 2012

One California law that takes effect Tuesday has drawn opposition. In September, parents and their children rallied outside the Capitol to protest legislation requiring parents to get waivers saying they have received information about the benefits and risk of immunization. (Associated Press)

New year rings in new laws for gays, Web privacy, bears

Employers and college officials in several states no longer can ask people to pony up their Facebook passwords. Drivers in Florida earn the right to warn fellow motorists of cops lurking around the bend. And folks in California cannot let their dogs chase bears or bobcats "at any time," even for hunting. Published December 31, 2012

** FILE ** Medical marijuana is packaged for sale in 1-gram packages at the Northwest Patient Resource Center medical marijuana dispensary in Seattle on Nov. 7, 2012. (Associated Press)

First marijuana growers in D.C. clear regulatory hurdles

Fifteen years after voters gave the green-light to a medical marijuana program in the nation’s capital, a pair of locations approved to grow or sell the drug have cleared regulatory hurdles and will set up shop a few months into the new year, according to city officials. Published December 25, 2012

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray says the city should 'double down' on its gun laws in the wake of the school shooting in Newton, Conn. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

Mayor Gray says D.C. should 'double down' on gun restrictions

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray said his city should "double down" on gun laws that are among the most stringent in the country, as leaders in the nation's capital and other cities view the sudden debate over guns as a pressing issue that afflicts youth both inside and outside of school walls. Published December 21, 2012