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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.

Former Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Obamacare architects gear up for second year

Key Obamacare architects said Tuesday political headwinds will not deter them from promoting the controversial health law in its second year, casting the reforms as a private matter for American families even though it remains the centerpiece of partisan struggles on Capitol Hill. Published June 18, 2014

**FILE** Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sits in the audience as she waits for President Barack Obama to make a statement on the Affordable Care Act on April 1, 2014, in the Rose Garden of the White House. (Associated Press)

Sebelius speaks out: Obamacare toppled 'relentless obstruction'

Former Health and Human Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, in her first major remarks since resigning, said Tuesday that proponents of President Obama's health overhaul were able to overcome "relentless obstruction" and even intimidation in states that rejected the health care law. Published June 17, 2014

** FILE ** This June 13, 2014, file photo shows President Barack Obama speaking on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

Obama thanks health care law supporters in a surprise video

In a surprise video message, President Obama on Tuesday thanked nearly 1,000 people tied to the nationwide effort to enroll people through his health care law, saying they cannot let up now because billionaire donors on "the other side" will try to roll back their gains. Published June 17, 2014

This image posted on a militant website on Saturday, June 14, 2014, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, appears to show militants from the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) leading away captured Iraqi soldiers in plain clothes after taking over a base in Tikrit, Iraq.  (AP Photo via militant website)

Criticism of Obama mounts as Islamists sweep through Iraq

Members of Congress called on President Obama Sunday to link up with Arab allies and quell a quick-moving crisis in Iraq, where Islamic militants swept toward Baghdad and left a bloody trail in their wake. Published June 15, 2014

** FILE ** Mitt Romney (R) waves to the audience before he speaks at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference held at the Gaylord National Hotel, National Harbor, Md., Friday, March 15, 2013. (Andrew S. Geraci/The Washington Times)

No 2016 White House bid for Romney

Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney said Sunday he is not going to launch another White House bid in 2016. Published June 15, 2014

** FILE ** Rep. Mike Rogers, Michigan Republican. (Associated Press)

Rogers: Decisive U.S. action needed in Iraq

Rep. Mike Rogers said Sunday the United States needs to act quickly and decisively with its Arab partners to quell the wave of extremists who are taking control of key Iraqi cities, before it's too late. Published June 15, 2014

Cantor: 'No regrets' after stunning primary defeat

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Sunday he has "no regrets" about the build-up to his stunning Republican primary loss that toppled him from the No. 2 spot in the chamber. Published June 15, 2014

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, is among those in his party who does not believe the Republicans have a substitute for Obamacare. "They've had five years to put a bold alternative on the floor," Mr. Hoyer said. (Associated Press)

Eric Cantor loss puts Obamacare alternative in jeopardy

One major casualty of Majority Leader Eric Cantor's primary loss this week could be the final chance for House Republicans to pass a substitute to Obamacare this year — likely dooming the second half of the party's "repeal and replace" campaign mantra. Published June 12, 2014

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell (Associated Press)

GOP lawmakers take aim at Obamacare 'bailout' once again

Congressional Republicans called on new Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell to reveal whether her agency plans to make an "unlawful" payments under an Obamacare program that protects against insurer losses — a provision the GOP has derided as a "bailout." Published June 11, 2014

** FILE ** In this May 31, 2013, file photo, acting Social Security Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin, center, accompanied by Acting Labor Secretary Seth D. Harris, left, and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, speaks during a news conference about Social Security and Medicare in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Social Security chief takes heat over 'outlier' judges

House Republicans told Social Security's acting chief Wednesday to find a way to discipline and fire a number of "outlier" judges who approve nearly all the federal disability claims that rise to their level of review. Published June 11, 2014

** FILE ** Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. (Associated Press)

Medicaid expansion spurs partisan battles in state capitals

Obamacare has taken center stage in the nationwide battle to win control of the Senate. But when it comes to a key pillar of the law — expanding Medicaid — the trail of political drama still leads to state capitals, not Washington. Published June 10, 2014

**FILE** Rep. Sam Graves, Missouri Republican (Associated Press)

18 states want to delay key part of Obamacare's small-business marketplace

Eighteen states have decided not to move forward in 2015 with an aspect of Obamacare that provides more choice for employees using small-business health exchanges, a "transitional policy" that Republican lawmakers will point to as yet another delay to the controversial overhaul. Published June 10, 2014