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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.

FILE - In a Monday, June 19, 2017 file photo, U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., speaks to reporters about the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program, following a news conference in Canton, Miss. Harper said Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018 that he won't seek re-election this year. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

House panel to grill opioid distributors in May

Republican leaders announced Thursday they will haul executives from top opioid distributors before Congress to testify about their alleged roles in "pill dumping" in West Virginia -- a state reeling from the addiction crisis. Published April 12, 2018

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam gestures as he delivers his State of the Commonwealth address before a joint session of the Virginia General Assembly as Lt. gov. Justin Fairfax, left, and House Speaker Kirk cox, R-Colonial Heights, right, listen at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Monday, Jan. 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) **FILE**

Virginia Democrats near victory on Medicaid expansion

Powered by last year's electoral victories and emboldened by GOP defections, Virginia Democrats are on the cusp of winning an expansion of Medicaid — something they've been seeking since Obamacare first passed eight years ago. Published April 10, 2018

FILE - In this July 27, 2017, file photo Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Cindy Hyde-Smith speaks at the Neshoba County Fair in Philadelphia, Miss. The state's governor will appoint Hyde-Smith as Mississippi's first female member of Congress to fill the Senate vacancy that will soon be created when Sen. Thad Cochran retires, three state Republicans told The Associated Press on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

VP Pence swears in Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith

Cindy Hyde-Smith was sworn in Monday as the junior senator from Mississippi, making her the first female member of Congress from the Southern state. Published April 9, 2018

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, pauses for a reporter's question at the Capitol  in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Sen. Alexander proposes bill to empower FDA in opioids fight

The Food and Drug Administration should use its share of anti-opioid money in the new omnibus spending bill to expand labs and train dogs to sniff out deadly fentanyl that's slipping through U.S. mail facilities, a top senator proposed Monday. Published March 26, 2018

Mainers for Health Care rally outside the State House prior to Gov. Paul LePage's State of the State address, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, in Augusta, Maine. The coalition that supported the successful Yes on 2 campaign to expand Medicaid in 2017 say LePage and his allies in the Legislature are trying to block Medicaid expansion, which is now state law. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Affordable health care tops 'worry list': Gallup poll

Fifty-five percent of Americans worry a "great deal" about finding affordable health care, according to a Gallup poll Monday that says the issue tops a list of more than a dozen problems facing the country. Published March 26, 2018

In this June 6, 2017, file photo, a reporter holds up an example of the amount of fentanyl that can be deadly, after a news conference about deaths from fentanyl exposure, at DEA Headquarters in Arlington, Va. The chief justice of the Massachusetts Trial Court told prosecutors she fears that allowing fentanyl and carfentanil into courtrooms as evidence puts people at risk even when the drugs are properly packaged. Some medical experts said a proposal to ban them from courtrooms appears to be driven by a misguided understanding of the real dangers of the substances. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

GOP lawmakers heed Trump's call to crack down on opioid dealers

Heeding President Trump's call to "get tough," Capitol Hill Republicans filed legislation Thursday that sets lengthy prison terms for fentanyl dealers, saying criminals must think twice before they peddle synthetic powders that can fit into a salt shaker, yet kill tens of thousands. Published March 22, 2018

FILE - In this June 6, 2017 file photo, a reporter holds up an example of the amount of fentanyl that can be deadly after a news conference about deaths from fentanyl exposure, at DEA Headquarters in Arlington Va.  Some large law enforcement agencies have recently abandoned the routine chemical field tests  out of concern that officers could be exposed to opioids that can be absorbed through the skin or inhaled. Even a minute amount of the most potent drugs, such as fentanyl, can cause violent illness or death. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

FDA pushes for authority to destroy unlabeled drugs in mail

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb urged Congress on Wednesday to let his agency destroy unlabeled drugs found in the mail, saying officials are seeing traffickers try to sneak illegal shipments through from overseas. Published March 21, 2018

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine center, joined by, from left, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., pushes for inclusion in the pending government spending bill of provisions aimed at lowering premiums for people purchasing health insurance in the Affordable Care Act's individual marketplace, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 21, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) ]

GOP: Democrats playing politics with Obamacare funds

Moderate Republicans accused Democrats Wednesday of using an abortion fight to tank Congress' last chance to stabilize Obamacare, saying they'd rather use soaring premiums as a cudgel against the GOP in November than help struggling consumers. Published March 21, 2018

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb listens during an interview with The Associated Press in New York on Monday, March 5, 2018. Gottlieb said Monday that he needs more staffers to intercept opioids that are being disguised as other drugs and supplements. (AP Photo/Kathy Young)

FDA seeks authority to destroy illicit drug shipments

Food and Drug Commissioner Scott Gottlieb urged Congress Wednesday to let his agency destroy unlabeled drugs that pour in through the mail, saying it is not uncommon to see traffickers resend parcels that were rejected once and may contain opioids or other deadly drugs. Published March 21, 2018

First lady Melania Trump walks off of the stage after introducing President Donald Trump to at Manchester Community College in Manchester, N.H., Monday, March 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Trump: Getting tough on drugs 'includes the death penalty'

Tired of "talking and doing nothing," President Trump said Monday the U.S. should adopt a zero-tolerance approach to opioids that includes execution of some drug dealers, vowing it would crush the problem fast. Published March 19, 2018