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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 Speaker John Boehner of Ohio meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014. On Wednesday, the Republican-run House passed an immense $1.1 trillion spending package, a bipartisan compromise that all but banishes the likelihood of an election-year government shutdown.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

House Republicans remain focused on Obamacare's problems

House Republicans on Thursday once again tried to shine a bright light on Obamacare’s problems and possible security flaws, as Obama administration officials admitted they were wrong about the website’s readiness but said the warning signs weren’t strong enough to convince them to delay the rollout. Published January 16, 2014

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie delivers his State Of The State address at the Statehouse, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, in Trenton, N.J. Faced with a widening political scandal that threatens to undermine his second term and a possible 2016 presidential run, Christie apologized again Tuesday, saying his administration "let down the people we are entrusted to serve" but that the issue doesn't define his team or the state. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Chris Christie favorability remains high despite 'Bridgegate'

New Jersey voters are giving Gov. Chris Christie the benefit of the doubt as he fights for his political life over a traffic-jam scandal, according to new polling that says more residents see him as a leader than as a bully who takes swipes at political foes. Published January 15, 2014

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman is shown here on the 2012 presidential campaign trail, when he made a bid for the White House. (Associated Press)

Jon Huntsman tapped as Atlantic Council chairman

Former Utah governor and GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman Jr. has been tapped to lead the Atlantic Council, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington that promotes "constructive leadership and engagement" in international affairs. Published January 15, 2014

** FILE ** Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, before the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the difficulties plaguing the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Federal judge backs Obamacare subsidies in win for administration

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the administration can pay subsidies to all deserving Obamacare enrollees, no matter who runs the exchanges they enrolled in — delivering a significant win to President Obama and preventing opponents from poking a major hole in his signature law. Published January 15, 2014

FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2013, file photo, MNsure insurance exchange representatives Carlos Villanueva, left, and Emily Joyce prepare for the Oct. 1 open enrollment debut at the center in St. Paul, Minn. The federal government hasn’t released comprehensive data on how many people have signed up for health insurance in the 36 states using federally run exchanges, and in the 14 states running their own exchanges, lack of enrollment numbers also makes it hard to say if Obamacare is a success. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)

Faith groups see bright side in Obamacare numbers

A network of faith-based organizers is hailing the latest Obamacare enrollment report as a positive barometer for the law, even if the data released Monday show too few young people have signed up so far. Published January 14, 2014

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie faces a federal probe over whether he violated the law by spending $25 million in Hurricane Sandy emergency money on tourism ads featuring his family. Mr. Christie's office denied any wrongdoing. (Associated Press)

Christie faces federal probe over tourism ads funded by Sandy aid

Already reeling from the "Bridgegate" scandal, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie faced new political trouble Monday as federal investigators questioned whether he violated the law by spending $25 million in Hurricane Sandy emergency money on tourism ads featuring his family. Published January 13, 2014

**FILE** President Obama listens to Andres Cruz, second from left, as he has lunch with five young people at The Coupe restaurant in the Columbia Heights section of Washington on Jan. 10, 2014. The five are spearheading creative outreach efforts to connect with and help enroll young consumers through the Marketplaces or are interested in getting more involved with these efforts. Seated at the table with Obama at left is Anne Johnson. (Associated Press)

Young enrollees of Obamacare fall well short of goal

Young adults are not signing up for Obamacare at a rate that could keep insurance premiums from going up — at least not yet —according to an Obama administration report that says nearly 2.2 million Americans have obtained private health coverage under the health care law. Published January 13, 2014

Associated Press 
 Sen. Mike Johanns, Nebraska Republican, said he was pleased that the House vote on the Obamacare privacy bill had such strong bipartisan support and urged the Senate majority leader to allow a vote.

Transparency bill shows GOP election-year shift on Obamacare

The Republican-controlled House this week is set to follow up passage of an Obamacare privacy bill with a transparency measure that could attract dozens of Democratic votes — a sign the GOP is shifting from efforts to repeal the health care law to a more nuanced approach in a midterm election year. Published January 12, 2014

A "step-by-step approach is the way to do it with enforcement coming first," said Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Virginia Republican, regarding immigration reform. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

D.C. authority at center of battle on abortion funding

Republicans signaled Thursday that they will try to permanently ban taxpayer-funded abortions in the District of Columbia, igniting a furious backlash from city officials who said the move is an effort to change a 40-year understanding between the city and the federal government. Published January 9, 2014

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, calls radio and TV ads urging businesses in Missouri to leave for Texas misleading. (Associated Press)

Republican-led states rethink rejection of Medicaid expansion

With Obamacare now in effect across the country, some Republican-led states will revisit their decisions to reject an expansion of Medicaid, once again deciding whether their contempt for the Affordable Care Act outweighs the allure of additional federal money in the short term. Published January 9, 2014