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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.

associated press

House bill bars abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy

The House Judiciary Committee approved a bill Wednesday that would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, igniting a debate over the thorny social issue at a time when some in the GOP fear they are alienating female voters. Published June 12, 2013

**FILE** Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, Maryland Democrat (Associated Press)

Cardin: Debate possible on privacy, top-secret programs

A key Democratic senator said Wednesday the collection of phone records and other mass data is "well understood," but there is room to discuss the broader implications of the spying programs. Published June 12, 2013

**FILE** House Speaker John Boehner, Ohio Republican, speaks June 6, 2013, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Associated Press)

Boehner describes NSA leaker as 'traitor'

House Speaker John A. Boehner says the man who disclosed top-secret spying programs is a "traitor" who committed a "giant violation of the law" that put Americans at risk. Published June 11, 2013

Plaintiffs press health act fight

With time running out before state-based insurance markets begin enrolling applicants under President Obama's health care law, a group of small businesses wants a court to expedite its claim that the federal government cannot offer premium tax credits on the exchanges the government will set up in more than 30 states. Published June 9, 2013

**FILE** A portion of approximately 33,500 signed "Defund ObamaCare Petitions" gathered by the Association of Mature American Citizens are displayed on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 28, 2012, during the GOP Doctors Caucus news conference in response to the Supreme Court health care ruling. (Associated Press)

'Obamacare' critics press court over subsidies

With time running out before state-based insurance markets begin enrolling applicants under President Obama's health care law, a group of small businesses have asked a federal court to expedite their claim that the federal government cannot offer premium tax credits on the exchanges the federal government will set up in more than 30 states. Published June 7, 2013

**FILE** Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican (Associated Press)

Need to decipher 'Obamacare' creates market for navigators

Dozens of people sat shoulder-to-shoulder in the basement of a downtown Washington library this week, hoping to gain an edge in their bids to help uninsured city residents navigate President Obama's health care law this fall and beyond. Published June 6, 2013

Gary L. Edwards of Falls Church is a member of Samaritan Ministries International, a "health care sharing ministry" in which Christian members use monthly shares to pay for each other's medical needs. Such ministries are one of nine exemptions built into the Affordable Care Act, which goes into effect next year. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

'Obamacare' alternative: health-sharing ministries offered a way out

While most Americans next year will have to grapple with the intricacies of President Obama's health law and the "individual mandate" requiring residents to have health insurance, Mr. Edwards and more than 160,000 others who use health-sharing ministries will be exempt. They're one of nine exemptions built into the health care law. Published June 6, 2013

Rep. Tom Price, Georgia Republican and a physician, says his health care plan won't put the government "in charge of a doggone thing."
(Associated Press)

GOP congressman pushes for 'patient-centered' health law

A Georgia congressman said Wednesday that House Republicans will redouble efforts to replace President Obama's health care law with a "patient-centered" alternative that uses tax breaks to make insurance affordable without imposing mandates on Americans. Published June 5, 2013

Rep. Tom Price, Georgia Republican, attends a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor in downtown Washington on June 5, 2013. (Christian Science Monitor)

GOP lawmaker: Congress has the tools to replace 'Obamacare'

A Georgia congressman said Wednesday he will try, once again, to push a health care bill that offers a "patient-centered" alternative to President Obama's sweeping reforms — one that includes tax breaks to make insurance affordable without imposing government mandates on Americans. Published June 5, 2013

**FILE** Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 17, 2013, before the Senate Finance Committee hearing on President Barack Obama's budget proposal for fiscal year 2014. (Associated Press)

Sebelius faces heat over 'Obamacare' promotion drive

President Obama's top health official on Tuesday strenuously defended her decision to ask two major organizations to contribute to a nonprofit that is promoting the president's new national health care law, saying she didn't violate any laws. Published June 4, 2013

** FILE ** Treasury Secretary Jack Lew testifies before the Senate Banking Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, May 21, 2013. (Associated Press)

Medicare fund gets some breathing room, but still in trouble

The Obama administration took a victory lap after the latest Medicare numbers released Friday showed the program's solvency has been extended by two years — a development the president's aides said is a result of the health care law. Published May 31, 2013

"Today, we take the next step forward in solving a problem that has been kicked down the road too many times," said Rep. Joseph R. Pitts, Pennsylvania Republican and House health subcommittee chairman.

House GOP drafts bill to revamp doctors' pay under Medicare

House Republicans released a draft bill Tuesday to repeal the ill-defined way physicians are paid under Medicare in a bid to finally end the annual Capitol Hill scramble to find extra cash to pay the doctors. Published May 28, 2013

** FILE ** A woman leaves a Hobby Lobby store in Little Rock, Ark., on Sept. 12, 2012. (Associated Press)

Appeals courts mull 'Obamacare' contraception mandate

Business owners who object to the contraception mandate in President Obama's health care law are pleading their cases in appeals courts across the country, a curtain raiser before a potential showdown in the Supreme Court. Published May 26, 2013

**FILE** IRS official Lois Lerner is sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 22, 2013, before the House Oversight Committee hearing to investigate the extra scrutiny IRS gave to tea party and other conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status. Lerner told the committee she did nothing wrong and then invoked her constitutional right to not answer lawmakers' questions. (Associated Press)

Answers on IRS only raise more questions and calls for a special investigation

Three days of hearings have shown that IRS scrutiny of conservative organizations extended beyond a few rogue employees in Cincinnati, that the agency staged its announcement of the bad news to try to limit the damage, and that the White House knew more, and knew it earlier, than it first admitted. Published May 23, 2013

**FILE** IRS official Lois Lerner is sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 22, 2013, before the House Oversight Committee hearing to investigate the extra scrutiny IRS gave to tea party and other conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status. Lerner told the committee she did nothing wrong and then invoked her constitutional right to not answer lawmakers' questions. (Associated Press)

Key IRS official speaks at House hearing — but not for long

Lois Lerner, an IRS official who reportedly tried to stop the targeting of conservative groups in July 2011 before it surfaced again, told House investigators she did nothing wrong but will not answer their questions on Wednesday. Published May 22, 2013

**FILE** IRS official Lois Lerner is sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 22, 2013, before the House Oversight Committee hearing to investigate the extra scrutiny IRS gave to tea party and other conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status. Lerner told the committee she did nothing wrong and then invoked her constitutional right to not answer lawmakers' questions. (Associated Press)

IRS head Lois Lerner, who invoked 5th Amendment, may be compelled to testify

The woman at the center of the IRS scandal refused to testify to Congress on Wednesday, but House Republicans said Lois Lerner botched her attempt to invoke her right against self-incrimination and said they likely will force her to come back and explain why the agency targeted conservative political groups. Published May 22, 2013