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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.

Some will need help with health law from 'navigators'

President Obama's health care law will be available in Spanish and other languages, according to new rules the administration issued late last week that tell the "navigators," who are supposed to help Americans negotiate the labyrinthian law, to be prepared to help non-English speakers. Published July 15, 2013

Sen. Ted Cruz

Senate GOP files bill to defund Obamacare

Rising stars in the Republican Party pushed Congress on Thursday to strip all funding from President Obama's health care law, even as Senate Democrats struck down piecemeal efforts to kill the law's most controversial mandates. Published July 11, 2013

** FILE ** Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican

Democrats caught off guard on employer mandate delay, now blame GOP

President Obama's decision to delay part of his health care law left fellow Democrats flat-footed, but they have since regrouped and are now blaming Republicans for the situation, saying the GOP poisoned the law so badly that the administration had no choice. Published July 10, 2013

**FILE** Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican (Associated Press)

Sen. Rand Paul threatens to block nominee, again, over drones

Sen. Rand Paul is threatening to block James Comey's nomination to lead the FBI if he does not get answers on the use of drones within the U.S. borders, just four months after his 13-hour filibuster of President Obama's pick to lead the CIA. Published July 10, 2013

GOP: Health law delay shows Obama sided with business over people

House Republicans said Tuesday that President Obama sided with big business over average Americans when he gave large employers a one-year exemption to compliance with his health care overhaul, and staffers said the GOP is planning a series of votes that would force Democrats to align themselves with the embattled law. Published July 9, 2013

Brendan McDonough (center right), the sole surviving member of the Granite Mountain Hotshots crew, hugs Harold A. Schaitberger, general president of the International Association of Firefighters, as Vice President Joseph R. Biden and Dan Bates, Prescott Chapter Vice President of United Yavapai Firefighters Association, Local 3066, look on during the "Our Fallen Brothers" memorial service for the 19 fallen firefighters at Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley, Ariz., on Tuesday, July 9, 2013. (Associated Press/The Arizona Republic)

Biden: Ariz. firefighters a 'rare breed'

Vice President Joseph R. Biden on Tuesday said 19 elite firefighters who died battling an Arizona wildfire were heroes "long before we knew their names." Published July 9, 2013

Administration uses employer mandate delay to swat at court challenges

The Obama administration is using last week's delay of the health care law's employer mandate to try to get some of the legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act thrown out of court, arguing that with the changes, it's no longer clear what the final policy will look like so businesses shouldn't sue yet. Published July 8, 2013

Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori (left) and Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore speak together last week following a news conference at the National Press Club. More than 100 national religious leaders in an open letter are asking the Obama administration to "expand conscience protections" in the Affordable Care Act's employer mandate. Critics say it does not go far enough in divorcing the institutions from health plans that cover contraception. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Critics raise questions over abrupt delay of 'Obamacare' mandate

The Obama administration's decision to delay the new health care law's "employer mandate" after business owners complained about its complexity has critics asking why, a few days prior, the White House would green-light a rule it sees as a burden on religious employers who do provide health insurance. Published July 7, 2013

**FILE** Rep. Phil Roe, Tennessee Republican and a physician before being elected to Congress, delivers remarks during a news conference on Capitol Hill with fellow Republican members of the freshman class as they discuss health care overhaul in Washington on March 20, 2010. At right is Rep. John C. Fleming, Louisiana Republican, who was a family physician and former coroner before being elected to Congress. (Associated Press)

GOP questions legality of Obamacare delay

Conservative lawmakers Wednesday questioned both the motives and the legality of President Obama's decision to halt the employer mandate, a key part of his new health insurance law, until after the 2014 elections. Published July 3, 2013

** FILE ** President Obama wipes away sweat during a speech at Georgetown University on June 25, 2013. (Associated Press)

Obamacare's employer mandate delayed to 2015

The Obama administration is delaying a key part of the new health care law for an additional year, to 2015 — a stunning move that officials said gives them a chance to work out kinks over how to administer the so-called employer mandate. Published July 2, 2013

** FILE ** Gay rights advocate Vin Testa waves a rainbow flag at dawn in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on Wednesday, June 26, 2013. In two separate and significant victories for gay rights, the high court struck down a provision of the Defense of Marriage Act denying federal benefits to married gay couples and cleared the way for the resumption of same-sex marriage in California. (Associated Press)

Feds move quickly on benefits after Supreme Court's gay-marriage ruling

The Obama administration is moving quickly to implement changes from the Supreme Court decision last week to extend benefits to married same-sex couples, a ruling that offered a tangible boost to gays in more than a dozen states even as its impact on the nation's fiscal house remains a puzzle. Published July 1, 2013

Sen. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat (Associated Press)

Student loan rates set to double

Senators left town Thursday without reaching a deal on student loans, meaning rates will double Monday as Democrats continued to balk at the solution proposed by President Obama and Republicans. Published June 27, 2013