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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.

A health worker stands in the Sambadrome as he sprays insecticide to combat the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that transmits the Zika virus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. Inspectors begin to spray insecticide around Sambadrome, the outdoor grounds where thousands of dancers and musicians will parade during the city's Feb. 5-10 Carnival celebrations. Brazil's health minister says the country will mobilize some 220,000 troops to battle the mosquito blamed for spreading a virus linked to birth defects. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Brazil moves to wipe out mosquitoes to stem Zika virus

The Brazilian government moved Friday to attack mosquito hot spots in federal buildings across the country, part of its effort to "declare war" on insects that are carrying the Zika virus across Latin America. Published January 29, 2016

A researcher holds a container with female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes at the Biomedical Sciences Institute in the Sao Paulo's University, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016. The Aedes aegypti is a vector for transmitting the Zika virus. The Brazilian government announced it will direct funds to a biomedical research center to help develop a vaccine against the Zika virus linked to brain damage in babies. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

WHO convenes emergency session over 'explosively' spreading Zika virus

The World Health Organization said Thursday it will convene an emergency session to fight the Zika virus, a mosquito-borne disease that is "spreading explosively" in the Americas and has been tied to birth defects and other serious health problems, although the link is murky. Published January 28, 2016

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

Administration nearing target of 13 million Obamacare signups

Nearly 9 million people selected a plan on HealthCare.gov ahead of Obamacare's last week of signups, the Obama administration said Wednesday, inching the program closer to a downgraded enrollment target of 13 million customers in 2016. Published January 27, 2016

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire Republican (Associated Press) **FILE**

Senators pledge to fight painkiller, heroin epidemic

A bipartisan group of senators urged Congress on Wednesday to attack the epidemic of heroin and painkiller abuse that is afflicting every state, saying a holistic approach is needed to block reckless prescribing, dispose of excess pills and equip first responders with a drug that can reverse overdoses. Published January 27, 2016

People walk past a statue of Gen. John J. Pershing, who had served as general of the Armies in World War I, in Pershing Park, at 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) ** FILE **

World War I memorial project kicks off: 'Weight of Sacrifice'

A national memorial to "The Great War" will feature three main sections for recreation and reflection and preserve parts of the District of Columbia park that now sits there, the World War I Centennial Commission said Tuesday as it kicked off an ambitious scramble to fund and construct the tribute before the 100th anniversary of the war's end. Published January 26, 2016

Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat, is trying to unseat Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire. (Associated Press)

Democrats' bid to reclaim Senate boosted by key recruits

Democrats nabbed nearly all of the recruits they wanted as they launched a push to retake the Senate, but few of the candidates are battle-tested and the party must paddle through distracting primaries before they gun for two dozen Republican seats in play in November. Published January 25, 2016

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Democrats push fixes to 'crushing' student debt

Rising college costs and heaps of student-loan debt are a direct threat to America's future, according to Senate Democrats who proposed legislative fixes Thursday and challenged Republicans to either join them or come up with a plan of their own in a pivotal election year. Published January 21, 2016

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, in this May 12, 2014, file photo. (AP Photo, File)

Top Obamacare official pledges action on failing co-ops

The man in charge of implementing Obamacare told Congress he will take a proactive approach toward nonprofit co-op plans that have failed at a startling rate, pledging to both help co-ops that survived and leverage the Justice Department to seek repayment of taxpayer loans from those that did not. Published January 21, 2016

House Republicans eye reconciliation to trim 2017 budget

House Republicans will write their 2017 budget to the maximum level of spending set out in last year's budget deal, but will try to come back and cut spending later this year using the same fast-track tool they turned to in trying to repeal Obamacare, the House Budget Committee chairman said Wednesday. Published January 20, 2016

This Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, file photo, shows a portion of The UnitedHealth Group Inc.'s  campus in Minnetonka, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)

UnitedHealth still down on Obamacare exchanges

The nation's largest insurer said Tuesday it still might withdraw from the Obamacare marketplace by 2017, citing losses on the law's Web-based exchanges despite a stronger-than-expected earnings report buoyed by its Optum division and other lines of business. Published January 19, 2016

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, who was the GOP's 2012 vice presidential nominee but took a pass on this year's presidential contest, said Republican infighting plays into the hands of President Obama, who exploits those fights to pursue his own agenda. (Associated Press)

Speaker Paul Ryan pitches grand 2016 vision that's short on details

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Friday his troops will offer voters a clear, conservative agenda before they vote in November, though he failed to outline concrete goals for 2016 after a three-day retreat in Baltimore that's been dominated by talk of the raucous GOP nominating race for president. Published January 15, 2016

In this file photo taken on Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014, health care workers load a man suspected of suffering from the Ebola virus onto an ambulance in Kenema, Sierra Leone. A corpse has tested positive for Ebola in Sierra Leone, an official said Friday, Jan. 15, 2016, the day after the World Health Organization declared the outbreak over in West Africa. (AP Photo/ Tanya Bindra,File)

Sierra Leone reports new Ebola case

Officials have confirmed a new case of Ebola in Sierra Leone, delivering a remarkable -- although predicted -- setback for West Africa just one day after world health officials declared an end to the two-year outbreak that killed more than 11,000 in the region. Published January 15, 2016

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, joined by Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., right, appears on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, before the House Rules Committee. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) ** FILE **

GOP chairmen threaten subpoena over Obamacare standoff

Two powerful Republicans threatened Friday to subpoena the Obama administration unless it explains by Jan. 28 why it is funding an obscure program under Obamacare without explicit approval from Congress. Published January 15, 2016

House Speaker Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 12, 2016. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Speaker Paul Ryan touts an 'inspiring' 2016

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell looked beyond the GOP's bitter presidential race Thursday and said they plan to offer a constructive agenda for voters who'll have the final say in November's general election. Published January 14, 2016