Skip to content

Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

Articles by Tom Howell Jr.

** FILE ** A woman leaves a Hobby Lobby store in Little Rock, Ark., on Sept. 12, 2012. (Associated Press)

Appeals courts mull 'Obamacare' contraception mandate

Business owners who object to the contraception mandate in President Obama's health care law are pleading their cases in appeals courts across the country, a curtain raiser before a potential showdown in the Supreme Court. Published May 26, 2013

**FILE** IRS official Lois Lerner is sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 22, 2013, before the House Oversight Committee hearing to investigate the extra scrutiny IRS gave to tea party and other conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status. Lerner told the committee she did nothing wrong and then invoked her constitutional right to not answer lawmakers' questions. (Associated Press)

Answers on IRS only raise more questions and calls for a special investigation

Three days of hearings have shown that IRS scrutiny of conservative organizations extended beyond a few rogue employees in Cincinnati, that the agency staged its announcement of the bad news to try to limit the damage, and that the White House knew more, and knew it earlier, than it first admitted. Published May 23, 2013

**FILE** IRS official Lois Lerner is sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 22, 2013, before the House Oversight Committee hearing to investigate the extra scrutiny IRS gave to tea party and other conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status. Lerner told the committee she did nothing wrong and then invoked her constitutional right to not answer lawmakers' questions. (Associated Press)

Key IRS official speaks at House hearing — but not for long

Lois Lerner, an IRS official who reportedly tried to stop the targeting of conservative groups in July 2011 before it surfaced again, told House investigators she did nothing wrong but will not answer their questions on Wednesday. Published May 22, 2013

**FILE** IRS official Lois Lerner is sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 22, 2013, before the House Oversight Committee hearing to investigate the extra scrutiny IRS gave to tea party and other conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status. Lerner told the committee she did nothing wrong and then invoked her constitutional right to not answer lawmakers' questions. (Associated Press)

IRS head Lois Lerner, who invoked 5th Amendment, may be compelled to testify

The woman at the center of the IRS scandal refused to testify to Congress on Wednesday, but House Republicans said Lois Lerner botched her attempt to invoke her right against self-incrimination and said they likely will force her to come back and explain why the agency targeted conservative political groups. Published May 22, 2013

Former IRS commissioner says scrutiny was not his job as a political appointee

The man who led the Internal Revenue Service when it was inappropriately scrutinizing conservative groups' applications for tax-exempt status said Tuesday that he intentionally kept himself in the dark about those kinds of decisions because he thought, as a political appointee, he should keep his distance. Published May 21, 2013

The exterior of the Internal Revenue Service building in Washington is seen here on March 22, 2013. (Associated Press) **FILE**

IRS official to plead the Fifth

An attorney for the high-ranking IRS official who ignited the agency's political targeting scandal with a public apology this month plans to invoke her right to remain silent instead of answering questions from top House investigators on Wednesday. Published May 21, 2013

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (left), Montana Democrat, accompanied by Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the committee's ranking Republican, questions ousted IRS Chief Steve Miller, former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman and J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, on Capitol Hill on May 21, 2013, during the committee's hearing on the IRS practice of targeting applicants for tax-exempt status based on political leanings. (Associated Press)

Parties divide over IRS scandal fallout

Democratic lawmakers on the Senate Finance Committee said Tuesday the IRS, while engaging in "unacceptable" targeting of conservative groups, may have been set up for failure by campaign finance law ambiguities that allowed tax-exempt groups to engage in partisan politics without disclosing their donors. Published May 21, 2013

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

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** 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

**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