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Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at [email protected].

Articles by Tom Howell Jr.

Gov. Pat McCrory and other state officials hold a briefing in the state Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh, N.C. on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014. McCrory directed the State Highway Patrol and almost 50 National Guard teams in Humvees statewide to search out and recover trapped drivers and help anyone seen walking after Wednesday's storm system brought traffic to a virtual standstill in the Research Triangle area.  (AP Photo/News & Observer, Corey Lowenstein)

Extreme weather heats up climate change debate

Fierce winter storms in the South and drought in the West have reignited the debate about climate change, with America’s politicians still in disagreement over the cause of extreme weather and whether the country has the cash or political will to try to fix it. Published February 16, 2014

**FILE** Senate Armed Services Committee member Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, questions former Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel, President Obama's choice to lead the Pentagon, during his confirmation hearing before the committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Sen. Lee: If Obama can rewrite law, 'almost no limit to his authority'

Sen. Mike Lee argued Sunday that "any high school civics student can tell you" President Obama is stretching his executive authority by ameliorating the effects of his health care law with numerous tweaks and delays to its mandates on employers and individuals. Published February 16, 2014

David Bransfield, a state outreach coordinator for Young Invincibles, a group which supports President Barack Obama's health care law, talks with student Philippe Komongnan, 27, who is in the process of signing up for health care, at the University of the District of Columbia in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014. An army of workers and volunteers has fanned out around the country trying to enroll young and healthy people in health insurance now available through Obama’s signature law. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

New Obamacare enrollment map reveals surprises, uneven progress across U.S.

A Washington-based consultancy has compared new Obamacare data to projected enrollment in each state, a handy tool that shows states such as Idaho, Montana and North Carolina doing quite well even though they've flown under the radar and relied on the federal government to run their new insurance marketplace. Published February 13, 2014

David Bransfield, a state outreach coordinator for Young Invincibles, a group which supports President Barack Obama's health care law, works on his computer at a table set up to sign people up for health care at the University of the District of Columbia in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014. An army of workers and volunteers has fanned out around the country trying to enroll young and healthy people in health insurance now available through Obama’s signature law. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

HHS touts Obamacare sign-ups, but young people still not enrolling

More than 3 million people had signed up for private health insurance on the Obamacare marketplace through the end of January, according to new figures that show the controversial overhaul is still failing to attract enough young people with about six weeks left in its first-ever enrollment period. Published February 12, 2014

President Barack Obama listens as French President François Hollande speaks during their joint news conference, as part of an official state visit, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Lauding the "enduring alliance" between the United States and France, President Barack Obama on Tuesday welcomed President Francois Hollande to the White House for a lavish state visit. The highly anticipated trip is taking place amid swirling speculation on both sides of the Atlantic about problems in Hollande's personal life. (AP Photo/ J. Scott Applewhite)

Obama defends delays as easing Obamacare's burden

President Obama brushed off criticism Tuesday of his decision to delay an Obamacare rule that requires larger employers to provide health insurance, saying recent edits to his signature health care law are designed to ease the pain for employer and individuals alike. Published February 11, 2014

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, left, speaks at a news conference on enrollment in affordable health coverage in Cleveland Monday, Feb. 3, 2014. Sebelius pointed to in-person assistance available in the Cleveland area to help people choose and enroll in affordable coverage options in the Health Insurance Marketplace. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

Administration steps up Hispanic outreach on Obamacare

The Obama administration said Tuesday that 8 in 10 Hispanic Americans may qualify for government-funded health insurance or financial assistance to pay for private plans on Obamacare markets. Published February 11, 2014

**FILE** President Barack Obama speaks to the media before meeting with his Cabinet at the White House on Jan. 14, 2014. From left are, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. (Associated Press)

Another key Obamacare mandate delayed again

The Obama administration announced Monday it is delaying the new health care law's "employer mandate" for one more year among mid-sized companies, a move that is sure to renew political recriminations among Republicans who feel the White House is protecting Democratic allies in a key election year. Published February 10, 2014

"I don't know if a decision has been made about that," IRS Commissioner John Koskinen (left) told Rep. Sam Johnson (right), a Texas Republican who wanted to know whether the IRS will sue those who refuse to obtain health insurance or pay the tax penalty required under Obamacare's individual mandate. (associated press photographs)

IRS undecided on health insurance coverage lawsuits

The IRS is still trying to decide whether it will end up suing anyone who refuses to obtain health insurance or pay the tax penalty required under Obamacare's "individual mandate," and how much they would have to owe before the tax agency begins to care. Published February 6, 2014

FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2014 file photo, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington.  This is a year of auditioning, positioning, networking and just plain hard work for people who are considering running for president in 2016. You could see them stirring in 2013 as they plugged holes in resumes, took preliminary steps to build potential campaign organizations and made carefully calibrated moves to get better known by Americans generally and key constituencies in particular. Most _ but not all _ are ticking off items on what could be called the presidential prep checklist. And they’ve got baggage to deal with.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Sen. Rubio slams Obamacare's obscure 'bailout'

Congressional Republicans took aim Wednesday at a piece of President Obama's health overhaul designed to "bail out" insurers if the law's economics do not work at the start, saying it ensures businesses make profits while taxpayers pick up the tab. Published February 5, 2014

President Barack Obama speaks to students and teachers, Education Department and Maryland officials at Buck Lodge Middle School in Adelphi, Md., Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, about the progress toward his ConnectED goal of connecting 99 percent of students to next-generation broadband and wireless technology within five years. President Obama has secured commitments from U.S. companies worth about $750 million to get more students connected to high-speed Internet. AT&T, Sprint, Apple and Microsoft are among the companies pitching in.    (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Religious groups to back Obamacare contraceptive mandate

Some religious groups are backing the government in the Supreme Court case over the contraceptive mandate, saying that while they believe in the freedom of worship, the Obama administration's proposal to cover women's health is the least objectionable path forward. Published February 4, 2014

Campbell Wisconsin bans protest banners on highway overpasses.

Wisconsin duo sue city over anti-Obama banner ban

Two men sued a small Wisconsin town on Monday, arguing an ordinance banning them from posting American flags or anti-President Obama signs on overpasses was an attempt to “eviscerate” their First Amendment rights. Published February 3, 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)

Grim prognosis: No system to fix sign-up errors in HealthCare.gov

People who sought coverage on the federal Obamacare website are not able to fix errors that occurred when they tried to sign up on the balky system, leaving more than 20,000 Americans scrambling to scale back payments that are too high or obtain the correct health plan, according to a news report. Published February 3, 2014

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

States resume efforts to gut Obamacare

After Obamacare's rocky rollout, lawmakers in state capitals around the country are back in session for the new year and once again going after the new health law, trying to stamp it out or obstruct its implementation within their borders. Published January 30, 2014