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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.

Rep. Trent Franks, Arizona Republican, introduced the District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in January. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

Effort to restrict abortions in D.C. fails in House

House Republicans could not muster enough votes Tuesday to pass a bill that bans abortions in the District after 20 weeks of pregnancy, a closely watched measure that pitted Democrats 'claims of a "war on women" against pro-life advocates' state-by-state defense of the unborn. Published July 31, 2012

D.C. Council member Jack Evans (The Washington Times)

Issa gives commuter tax idea a big boost

A D.C. lawmaker in charge of local purse strings thinks an influential congressman's look at a tax on out-of-state residents who work in the District could be a "game changer" for the city's finances. Published July 30, 2012

Mayor, D.C. school officials cheer rise in test scores

D.C. school officials on Thursday praised overall gains in 2012 test scores as another baby step toward the ambitious, long-term goals for school reform — although less than half of the city's students were proficient in math and reading. Published July 26, 2012

After introducing his "One City Action Plan" on Wednesday, Mayor Vincent C. Gray got testy with reporters at the Wilson Building. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

In Gray’s defense, he’s getting good at defending himself

For the third time in as many days, D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray stood at a podium on Wednesday to highlight the District's progress during his tenure — a defiant stand less than a week after his attorney rebuked the media's "rush to judgment" over a shadow-campaign scandal that has besmirched Mr. Gray's first 18 months in office. Published July 25, 2012

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray tries to offer his remarks to the crowd while being shouted down by activists seeking housing for people with HIV/AIDS as he tries to deliver his speech to the crowd at the XIX International AIDS Conference at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., Monday, July 23, 2012. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

Gray's AIDS speech overshadowed

Eager to tout the District's progress on the HIV/AIDS epidemic at a worldwide summit on his home turf, D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray took the stage at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Monday for a respite from the scandal that has dogged his days and nights since the 2010 campaign. Yet trouble found him. Published July 24, 2012

McDuffie: Bloomingdale neighborhood needs help now

D.C. Council member Kenyan McDuffie is calling for an "all hands on deck" effort to stem too-frequent flooding in the Bloomingdale neighborhood after a string of devastating rainstorms this month. Published July 22, 2012

D.C. Council member Jack Evans said he will be ready to run either in 2014 or sooner than that should a special election be required. (T.J. Kirkpatrick/The Washington Times)

Running for mayor on Evans’ to-do list

D.C. Council member Jack Evans is definitely running for mayor "the next time an opportunity comes up." But he is not looking to push embattled Mayor Vincent C. Gray out the door. Published July 22, 2012

** FILE ** Rep. Darrell E. Issa, California Republican and chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, reads from a book on June 20, 2012, at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill, quoting the president's right to assert executive privilege after learning that President Obama has done so in the "Fast and Furious" gun-tracking case, refusing to turn over related documents to Congress. The committee proceeded with its markup to vote on whether to hold Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt for his failure to produce those documents. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

Issa open to discussion of D.C. commuter tax

A year after he suddenly proposed greater fiscal freedoms for the District, Rep. Darrell Issa dangled yet another enticing plan in front of D.C. officials on Thursday. Published July 19, 2012

Delegation for D.C. hits the roof in search for more space, revenue

Building out space on city rooftops for work and play is a common-sense and potentially lucrative tweak to a century-old law that restricts the height of buildings in the District, D.C. officials and analysts told federal lawmakers Thursday. Published July 19, 2012

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Gray attorney accuses media of 'rush to judgment'

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray's attorney accused members of the media and critics on Thursday of engaging in a "rush to judgment" over Mr. Gray's responsibility for an off-the-books scheme that injected about $650,000 into his 2010 campaign and places his political future in doubt. Published July 19, 2012

The Rev. Graylan Hagler (left) talks with Deborah Harris of Washington, a supporter of D.C Mayor Vincent C. Gray, during a faith-based rally on the front steps of the John A. Wilson Building in Washington on Wednesday, July 18, 2012. Supporters called upon the crowd and the public not to rush to judgment, as three D.C. Council members have openly called for Mr. Gray's resignation in light of the scandal surrounding his 2010 election campaign. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

Supporters rally around D.C. Mayor Gray

A diverse gathering of D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray's supporters raised their voices —and their megaphones — in prayer and song at a rally in front of city hall on Wednesday, evoking religious teachings and the right to due process to defend a man who has been labeled either an election-swindler or an innocent victim of his surrogates' sins. Published July 18, 2012


Not all giving back tainted donor cash

Despite the return by President Obama and the Democratic Party of a tainted $10,000 donation from D.C. fundraiser Jeffrey E. Thompson, dozens of other federal and local campaign committees, Democrat and Republican alike, continue to hold on to tens of thousands of dollars they have received from the contractor now at the center of Mayor Vincent C. Gray's deepening fundraising scandal, records show. Published July 18, 2012

Rep. Trent Franks, Arizona Republican, introduced the District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in January. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

House committee passes bill restricting abortions in D.C.

The House Judiciary Committee approved a bill on Wednesday that bans abortions in the District 20 weeks into pregnancy, despite objections by Democrats and city leaders that the bill unreasonably singles out residents of the nation's capital. Published July 18, 2012

Rep. Trent Franks, Arizona Republican, introduced the District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in January. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

Hill panel set to weigh curb on D.C. abortions

The House Judiciary Committee will consider a bill Wednesday that would ban abortions in the District 20 weeks into pregnancy, a measure that pro-life advocates tout as a moral approach to abortion policy in the nation's capital even as city officials decry it as affront to their home rule. Published July 17, 2012

Work on the first phase of a multiyear effort to bury the District's power lines will begin in the spring, after the D.C. Public Service Commission announced Thursday it had approved the $1 billion plan.. (Andrew S. Geraci/The Washington Times)

D.C. residents rail against Pepco at council hearing

Pepco officials told a D.C. Council committee on Friday they are ready and willing to enter serious talks with customers and the city government about burying power lines in the District, an expensive proposition that is viewed as an antidote to power outages like those that afflicted the region during a heat wave this month. Published July 14, 2012

"People are innocent until they are proven guilty; they aren't guilty until they're proven innocent," D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray said Thursday. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

For D.C. Mayor Gray, 'what did he know and when?'

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray on Thursday said the swirl of suspicion around an off-the-books effort during his 2010 campaign is "as frustrating for me as it is for others." Published July 12, 2012

D.C. mayor deflects 'shadow campaign' questions

Mayor Vincent C. Gray defended his integrity and the reputation of his administration on Wednesday in his first public comments since federal prosecutors outlined a politically damaging "shadow" effort by members of his 2010 campaign. Published July 11, 2012