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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.

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican, is "closely monitoring" proposed health insurance plan rates before the "Obamacare" exchanges kick in 2014.

'Obamacare' opponents checking for 'rate shock'

Opponents of President Obama's health care law are eagerly scouring the paperwork insurers file with states, looking for early evidence of "rate shock" — rising prices ahead of full implementation of the state "exchanges" that begin next year. Published April 29, 2013

**FILE** Lee Medina, an employee at Dan D Party Corner in Cheyenne, Wyo., stands near a close-to-empty helium tank used to fill balloons on Sept. 22, 2011. (Associated Press)

House votes to avert a worldwide helium shortage

The House overwhelmingly passed legislation on Friday to sell off helium from a federal reserve in Texas while demanding a fair price for it, a seemingly arcane bill that exposed a global shortage of the second-most abundant element in the universe. Published April 26, 2013

Rep. Andy Harris, Maryland Republican, asked Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about a provision in the federal health care law mandating contraception coverage. (Associated Press)

Sebelius visits Capitol Hill to stop health care law 'train wreck'

President Obama's top health official tried Thursday to stanch Republican lawmakers' complaints about the federal health care law amid growing concerns from both sides of the aisle that the administration is facing a "train wreck" as it prepares to go live with key parts of the system next year. Published April 25, 2013

**FILE** Rep. Dan Benishek, Michigan Republican (Associated Press)

House GOP: Influx of vets for 'Obamacare' may overwhelm VA

House Republicans said Wednesday that the Veterans Affairs Department may not be ready to handle hundreds of thousands of veterans who may sign up for health benefits next year to meet the new individual mandate under President Obama's health-care law. Published April 24, 2013

**FILE** Rep. Michael Burgess, Texas Republican, is seen March 25, 2010, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Associated Press)

House GOP leaders scrap health care bill amid conservative backlash

Facing another conservative rebellion, House Republican leaders Wednesday scratched votes on a bill that would have cut one part of President Obama's health care law in order to prop up another section providing coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. Published April 24, 2013

Senate panel backs Tavenner to run Medicare and Medicaid

The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday approved President Obama's pick to lead the federal agency that runs Medicare and Medicaid, giving her a bipartisan boost amid the fiery debate over health care and entitlement spending. Published April 23, 2013

**FILE** A woman smokes a cigarette at her home in Alabama on March 2, 2013. (Associated Press)

Smokers cloud states' rollout of 'Obamacare'

States are wrestling with how to treat smokers under the new health care law as they navigate the thorny issue of providing coverage for those who knowingly engage in harmful behavior and how much taxpayers should pay for those folks' choices. Published April 22, 2013

New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (Associated Press)

NYC bill would raise smoking age to 21

New York City could become the first place in America to put restrictions on smoking in line with drinking laws by raising the legal age to purchase tobacco products. Published April 22, 2013

Ruslan Tsarni, the uncle of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, speaks with the media outside his home in Montgomery Village, Md., on April, 19, 2013. (Associated Press)

Ruslan Tsarni says nephews Dzhokhar and Tamerlan are 'losers'

The Maryland uncle for the two brothers suspected in Monday's Boston Marathon bombing angrily denounced his nephews as "losers" who failed to assimilate into American society, while saying it was a "fraud" to suggest their Islamic faith was to blame the attack. Published April 19, 2013

This image released by the FBI on Thursday, April 18, 2013, shows in a image from video what the FBI are calling suspect number 1, front, in black cap, and suspect number 2, in white cap, back right, walking near each other through the crowd in Boston on Monday, April 15, 2013, before the explosions at the Boston Marathon. (AP Photo/FBI)

Deceased suspect had studied at Bunker Hill Community College

A suspect tied to the Boston Marathon bombings who was killed overnight in a shootout with police attended a community college and posted an online message about Americans ahead of Monday's attack, according to CNN. Published April 19, 2013

** FILE ** In this image from video provided by WBZ TV, spectators and runners run from what was described as twin explosions that shook the finish line of the Boston Marathon, Monday, April 15, 2013, in Boston. Two explosions shattered the euphoria of the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, sending authorities out on the course to carry off the injured while the stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site of the blasts. (AP Photo/WBZTV)

Video shows Boston bomb suspect; FBI criticizes media for days of inaccurate reports

After an afternoon in which many in the media incorrectly reported an arrest in Monday's deadly Boston Marathon bombing, investigators acknowledged Wednesday that authorities have captured a video image of a possible suspect from a surveillance camera at a Lord & Taylor department store and TV footage. Published April 17, 2013

Authorities search a storage unit at Gibson Self Storage as they continue to investigate the slayings of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland, his wife and a top prosecutor, Saturday, April 13, 2013, in Seagoville, Texas. Authorities investigating the death of a Texas district attorney arrested Eric Williams, a former justice of the peace and charged him Saturday with making a "terroristic threat" after searching his home. (AP Photo/The Dallas Morning News, Michael Ainsworth)

Ex-justice's wife arrested in Texas prosecutor murders

The wife of a former justice of the peace in Texas has been arrested on accusations linked to the killings of the Kaufman County District Attorney, his wife and an assistant prosecutor, the Dallas Morning News reported this morning. Published April 17, 2013