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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.

House Ways and Means Committee member Rep. Pat Tiberi (left), Ohio Republican, waves a constituent's application to the IRS that was delayed on May 17, 2013, on Capitol Hill  during the committee's hearing on the extra scrutiny the IRS gave tea party and other conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status. From left are Tiberi and fellow Republican Reps. Devin Nunes of California, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Kevin Brady of Texas, and Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan. (Associated Press)

GOP eager to link IRS scandal to 'Obamacare' takedown efforts

As her fellow House Republicans took another symbolic vote Friday to repeal President Obama’s health care law, Rep. Diane Black, Tennessee Republican, filed a bill that prohibits the Internal Revenue Service from targeting political groups with any data obtained by carrying out the overhaul. Published May 17, 2013

**FILE** Marilyn B. Tavenner (Associated Press)

Senate approves new Medicare/Medicaid chief

The Senate on Wednesday approved President Obama's pick to lead the nation's Medicare agency, sending it a permanent leader for the first time in several years as the nation inches closer to sweeping health care reforms. Marilyn B. Tavenner enjoyed bipartisan support at the committee level before the full chamber voted, 91-7, to confirm her as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Published May 15, 2013

**FILE** Sen. Max Baucus, Montana Democrat, addresses the state Legislature in Helena on Jan. 10, 2013. (Associated Press/The Independent Record)

Senate leaders: It's time to fix doctor Medicare payments

Top federal lawmakers say the time has come to overhaul the way physicians are paid under Medicare, a long-standing problem that encourages medical providers to offer more procedures instead of seeking to improve the quality of care. Published May 14, 2013

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has argued that the Medicaid expansion is the right thing to do, morally and economically, placing him at odds with some right-leaning politicians in his state.
(associated press)

Conservative lawmakers, governors at odds over expanding Medicaid

Time is running out for states to decide whether they will expand their Medicaid programs under President Obama's health law — a decision that pits governors who think it is too good of a deal to pass up against conservative lawmakers who see it as a budget-busting gamble. Published May 14, 2013

**FILE** Pharmacist Simon Gorelikov holds a generic emergency contraceptive at the Health First Pharmacy in Boston on May 2, 2013. (Associated Press)

White House asks court to block birth control order

The Obama administration on Monday asked an appeals panel to delay the enforcement of a federal judge's stern order to make emergency contraception available to women of all ages without a prescription. Published May 13, 2013

Gov. Steve Beshear speaks during a press conference in Frankfort, Ky., on May 9, 2013. Beshear announced that he had decided to expand Medicaid, the government health care program, to an additional 300,000 Kentucky residents. (Associated Press)

Ky. governor OKs Medicaid expansion under 'Obamacare'

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear says he supports the expansion of Medicaid in his state under President Obama's health care law, a decision that would extend coverage to 308,000 residents. Published May 9, 2013

**FILE** Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius speaks on Feb. 14, 2012, at HHS headquarters in Washington. (Associated Press)

Obama releases new data on hospital bill disparities

President Obama's top health officials released a massive trove of medical billing data Wednesday, which they said will help expose hospitals that charge too much for common procedures. Published May 8, 2013

Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat, noted that helium is "a critical resource for a number of important sectors of the American economy," including semiconductors and fiber optics.  (Associated Press)

Bipartisanship surfaces on issue of helium reserve

Federal lawmakers from both parties say they're eager to scale down the nation's helium reserve without disrupting the supply chain, a seemingly arcane effort that is so urgent it may "rise above" the partisan rancor on Capitol Hill. Published May 7, 2013

**FILE** Sen. Tom Harkin, Iowa Democrat (Associated Press)

Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin drops block on Obama Medicare nominee

Sen. Tom Harkin said he will remove his hold on President Obama's pick to lead the nation's Medicare agency, but the powerful Iowa Democrat said Tuesday he is still not happy with the administration's "penny-wise, pound-foolish" tendency to raid a fund designated for preventative health programs. Published May 7, 2013

** FILE ** Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington on Friday, April 12, 2013, before a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on President Obama's budget proposal for the HHS for fiscal 2014. (Associated Press)

Pediatric PR: Sebelius tells pediatricians to promote 'Obamacare'

President Obama's top health official asked the nation's pediatric groups on Monday to spread the word about benefits within the federal health care law, a plea that coincides with mounting pressure to implement the ambitious overhaul before its main provisions kick in next year. Published May 6, 2013

**FILE** Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican (Associated Press)

Israeli airstrikes on Syria put Obama at the crossroads

As Israeli planes hit targets in Syria for the second time in three days, some Republicans on Sunday ramped up their calls for President Obama to take stronger measures against the Assad regime — but the White House response was muted. Published May 5, 2013

Rudolph W. Giuliani

Giuliani: Boston bombings show threat of homegrown jihadists

Former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani said the Obama administration should ratchet up its focus on homegrown terrorists and their links to overseas jihadists despite the death of Osama bin Laden, citing the Boston Marathon bombings as a reminder that radicalized Islam is a constant threat. Published May 5, 2013