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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.

Vanessa Torres (center) and her fiance Rachel Broussard (right) of Hampton, Va., console Vanessa's daughter Gabriela, 12,  as they listen to speakers during a rally for marriage equality outside the Supreme Court in Washington as the justices begin hearing two days of arguments in cases involving gay marriage on March 26, 2013. Torres and Broussard each have two children from previous marriages and are getting married in August. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Both sides optimistic, uncertain as gay marriage arguments end

Attorneys who are challenging and defending California's ban on gay marriage before the Supreme Court struck an optimistic tone as they emerged from arguments on Tuesday, even if they conceded they have no idea how the justices will rule about three months from now. Published March 26, 2013

Corporation rights drive divergent rulings on contraception

A federal judge has rejected a Michigan company's urgent plea for protection from the contraception mandate in President Obama's health-care law, noting that a corporation's rights are not always the same as an individual's. Published March 25, 2013

Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele chats following the annual Red Mass for the U.S. Supreme Court at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Ex-RNC head Michael Steele knocks down Christie criticism

Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele said Monday that conservatives' decision to ostracize popular New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for embracing President Obama in a time of crisis was "nothing short of moronic." Published March 25, 2013

**FILE** Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. walks out of the House Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 4, 2013, following the counting of Electoral College votes. (Associated Press)

Senate narrowly passes first budget in four years

Saturday's razor-thin, predawn approval of a spending plan in the Senate is being called a victory by Democrats — but Republicans emerged from the all-nighter with momentum on two key issues: deficit reduction and the Keystone XL pipeline. Published March 22, 2013

** FILE ** Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Firefighters, birth control lead off Senate budget votes

The Senate kicked off what promises to be a lengthy "vote-a-rama" session tied to their budget plan Friday afternoon by swiftly approving funds for forest firefighters out West and then defeating, largely along party lines, an amendment that would have let secular employers refuse to insure contraception. Published March 22, 2013

‘Obamacare’ still a work in progress

Marking the third anniversary of the health care law's passage in Congress, Republicans and Democrats agreed on one thing Thursday — President Obama's signature legislative achievement could use some changes. Published March 21, 2013

**FILE** Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican (Associated Press)

Senate votes to kill Obamacare-related tax

The Senate on Thursday voted to repeal a sales tax on medical devices that is part of President Obama's health-care law, a rare bipartisan attempt to strip away a section of the controversial reforms. Published March 21, 2013

GOP still trying to take apart ‘Obamacare’

President Obama's health care law passed Congress three years ago and remains almost entirely intact, but Republicans say they are still gathering support to dismantle it, betting that the overhaul will lose its political heft as Americans feel the brunt of its taxes and regulations. Published March 20, 2013

**FILE** Rep. Joe Crowley, New York Democrat (Associated Press)

Lawmakers push bill on primary-care doctor shortage

Five members of Congress reintroduced a bill Monday that takes on the nation's shortage of primary-care doctors by increasing the number of government-funded training slots at teaching hospitals. Published March 18, 2013

** FILE ** House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, speaks about the 2014 Budget Resolution during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 12, 2013. (Associated Press)

Paul Ryan introduces GOP budget, sees balance in decade

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan proposed a budget Tuesday that he said can cut $4.6 trillion and bring federal finances to balance in 10 years, calling the plan an "invitation" to find common ground with President Obama and congressional Democrats. Published March 12, 2013