Skip to content

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 and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius leave the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington on Feb. 10, 2012, after the president announced the revamp of his contraception policy requiring religious institutions to fully pay for birth control. (Associated Press)

White House launches website, enlists NFL as part of Obamacare blitz

The Obama administration launched its promotion of the new health care law in earnest Monday, revealing that it has asked the National Football League to advertise insurance options as it rolls out a glossy new website and a 24-hour call center to clear up confusion about the law. Published June 24, 2013

Edward Snowden

NSA leaker Edward Snowden, helped by WikiLeaks, heads to Ecuador via Russia

The computer technician who faces criminal charges for leaking details of U.S. spying programs left Hong Kong on Sunday to seek asylum in Ecuador, reigniting debate over his conflicted status as either a champion for personal privacy or a traitor who might curry favor with hostile nations. Published June 23, 2013

**FILE** Gen. Keith B. Alexander, director of the National Security Agency and head of the U.S. Cyber Command, testifies before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 18, 2013. (Associated Press)

NSA chief tries to assuage public over spying programs

The head of the National Security Agency said Sunday that the former analyst who leaked information about American spying programs cause "irreversible damage" to the country and is not acting, "in my opinion, with noble intent." Published June 23, 2013

Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican (Associated Press)

GOP senators, divided on immigration, find common ground on NSA leaker

Republican senators who don't always see eye to eye agreed Sunday that the former National Security Agency analyst who leaked details of top-secret U.S. spying programs and reportedly is on his way from Hong Kong to the likes of Cuba or Venezuela is a "felon" whose travels plans are misguided. Published June 23, 2013

**FILE** Teva Women's Health packaging for Plan B One-Step (levonorgestrel) tablet, one of the brands known as the "morning-after pill" (Associated Press)

Plan B drug maker: FDA approved pill without restrictions

The drug maker at the heart of a legal fight over access to emergency contraception said Friday it got the green light to offer its one-pill product to customers of all ages, who will not need a prescription or identification to purchase it. Published June 21, 2013

**FILE** Stacks of paperwork await members of the House Agriculture Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 15, 2013, as it meets to consider proposals to the 2013 Farm Bill. (Associated Press)

House rejection of farm bill sows bad seeds for Boehner

The House rejected the massive farm bill Thursday after conservative Republicans banded with Democrats, dealing a major defeat to House Speaker John A. Boehner and the GOP leadership and raising questions about the chamber's ability to pass any ambitious legislation this year. Published June 20, 2013

** FILE ** President Obama is introduced by Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, before speaking at the 2013 Planned Parenthood National Conference in Washington on April 26, 2013. (Associated Press)

Planned Parenthood touts benefits of Obamacare

Planned Parenthood has joined the ranks of White House allies promoting President Obama's health care law, greeting visitors to its website with a section on "Obamacare and You." Published June 20, 2013

Sen. Susan M. Collins, Maine Republican, said employers should be allowed to calculate full-time employees based on a 40-hour workweek instead of 30 hours under the new health law. "This is not a hypothetical concern," Ms. Collins said. (Associated Press)

GAO sees problem meeting health law deadlines

The government's chief auditor on Wednesday said President Obama's health care overhaul is in danger of missing key October deadlines, raising concerns it could be the nightmare that Republicans and even some Democratic lawmakers have feared of late. Published June 19, 2013

President Obama gives a thumbs up to a supporter at a campaign rally at the Community College of Aurora in Aurora, Colo. on Nov. 4, 2012. (Associated Press)

Obama's army of supporters to man the trenches in new health care push

Enroll America, the nonprofit that is leading the charge in promoting President Obama's health care law, announced on Tuesday it has launched a nationwide campaign to help the uninsured learn about benefits and subsidies that take effect next year. Published June 18, 2013

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