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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.

Karen Styer of Germantown, Md. sits with a pro-life sign after a morning ceremony of prayer vigils and rallies against late-term abortion near "late-term abortion provider" Dr. Leroy Carhart's clinic in Germantown, Md. on Tuesday, August 2, 2011. "Until Dr. Carhart came to town, I was on the edge. But when I heard about how late-term abortions are done, I became pro-life," said Styer. The prayers and rallies are a part of the nine-day pro-life protesting event, Summer of Mercy 2.0. (Pratik Shah/The Washington Times)

House votes to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy

House Republicans powered through a bill Tuesday to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, saying the recent conviction of a Philadelphia abortion provider for killing newborn babies has revived the contentious debate. Published June 18, 2013

House Speaker John A. Boehner is bringing his chamber's agriculture bill to the floor. House and Senate versions end direct payments to farmers in favor of broader crop insurance programs. (Associated Press)

Farm bill cuts judged both too much, not enough

A year after they failed to pass a farm bill and suffered for it in several big congressional races, House Republicans think they've finally got the right balance to fund agricultural programs while weaning more Americans off food stamp benefits. Published June 17, 2013

** FILE ** Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey (right) testifies June 4, 2013, on Capitol Hill before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing to investigate the growing epidemic of sexual assaults within the military. From right are Dempsey, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno and Judge Advocate General of the Army Lt. Gen. Dana K. Chipman. (Associated Press)

House passes $638B defense spending bill

The House on Friday authorized $638 billion in military spending for the coming fiscal year, including $86 billion for the war in Afghanistan, while attempting to address reports of the rising number of sexual assaults in the military. Published June 14, 2013

Patents awarded to Myriad Genetics Inc., a Utah firm that isolated the location and sequence of what's known as the BRCA gene, were thrown out Thursday when the Supreme Court ruled that human genes are "a product of nature." (Associated Press)

Supreme Court: Companies cannot obtain patents for human genes

The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled unanimously that human genes are "a product of nature" and companies cannot obtain patents on them — a major shift in patent policy that could open the door to broader medical research on certain cancers and other diseases. Published June 13, 2013

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, 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

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

**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