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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 this Dec. 1, 2015 file photo, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nev speaks with reporters on Capitol hill in Washington. Reid is heading into retirement next year. Before he goes he has some strong words for Republicans. In a floor speech Wednesday, the Nevada lawmaker accused Republicans of "running on a platform of hate." He said that the party and its candidates "demagogue women" and direct "insults and slander" at Muslim-Americans, immigrants, and supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Sen. Harry Reid: Trump running on a 'platform of hate'

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid unleashed on Donald Trump and his fellow Republican candidates for president Tuesday, saying the GOP front-runner is "saying out loud what other Republicans merely suggest." Published December 8, 2015

In this Dec. 1, 2015 photo, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., departs a news conference following a GOP strategy session at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. From left are Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., chair of the Republican Conference, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Speaker Ryan, and Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La.  After months where tea party lawmakers provoked crisis and unrest in Congress, even driving out a speaker, GOP leaders have turned to the business of governing, pushing forward a series of bills destined to get a presidential signature.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Paul Ryan says Congress may miss Friday funding deadline

House Speaker Paul Ryan warned Monday that Congress might not meet a Friday deadline to fund the government and approve a series of tax breaks for firms and individuals, meaning its lengthy to-do list could nudge up against Capitol Hill's holiday break. Published December 7, 2015

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said his "vote-a-rama" bids to loosen gun laws in the District of Columbia and beat back terrorism prove that he is a Republican presidential contender who will fight to bring "much-needed change" to Washington. (Associated Press)

Obamacare repeal bill offers something for everyone on Capitol Hill

Democrats swiftly blasted Senate Republicans up for re-election in 10 states for voting to repeal Obamacare, saying it would "pull the rug out" from under thousands of people who are newly eligible for Medicaid coverage in their states. Published December 6, 2015

FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2015 file photo, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., joined by Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Talks on a massive, government-wide spending bill hit a snag Wednesday as Republicans pressed demands to block new power plant rules, weaken financial services regulations and make it more difficult for Syrian and Iraqi refugees to enter the U.S. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Republican repeal of Obamacare heads to president's desk

Senate Republicans brushed aside five years of frustration Thursday and fast-tracked an Obamacare repeal bill to President Obama's desk, fulfilling their pledge to hold Democrats and the White House accountable for a 2010 law they still view as fiscally ruinous and politically misguided. Published December 4, 2015

A victim is wheeled away on a stretcher following a shooting that killed multiple people at a social services facility, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015, in San Bernardino, Calif. (David Bauman/The Press-Enterprise via AP)  MAGS OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT; LOS ANGELES TIMES OUT

Legally armed citizenry seen as mass-shooting, terrorism deterrent

Democrats ramped up their push Thursday for more firearms restrictions even as alarm over recent mass shootings, including one linked to Islamic terrorism, fueled calls for citizens to play a greater role in their own protection. Published December 3, 2015

FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2015 file photo, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., joined by Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Talks on a massive, government-wide spending bill hit a snag Wednesday as Republicans pressed demands to block new power plant rules, weaken financial services regulations and make it more difficult for Syrian and Iraqi refugees to enter the U.S. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Republicans fast-track Obamacare repeal to president's desk

Senate Republicans brushed aside five years of frustration Thursday and fast-tracked an Obamacare repeal bill to President Obama's desk, fulfilling their pledge to hold Democrats and the White House accountable for a 2010 law they still view as fiscally ruinous and politically misguided. Published December 3, 2015

President Obama had enjoyed historically low increases averaging 3.7 percent a year during the first five years or his tenure, but spending rose 5.3 percent, to reach $3 trillion, in 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimated. (Associated Press)

Health spending spikes more than 5 percent as Obamacare takes full effect

Health spending spiked by more than 5 percent last year as Obamacare took full effect, according to a new government analysis Wednesday that said the low-growth trend that had prevailed for most of President Obama's time in office changed as new prescription drugs came on the market and Americans started using more services. Published December 2, 2015

President Obama speaks during a news conference at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Centre, in Paris, on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. Obama discussed the COP21 climate change summit. (Associated Press)

White House says it will veto Obamacare repeal bill

The White House formally signaled President Obama's intent Wednesday to veto a Republican bill that would dismantle his signature health overhaul, saying Congress should work to promote the law instead of making a political statement ahead of the 2016 elections. Published December 2, 2015

The Supreme Court (Associated Press) ** FILE **

1 in 10 large nonprofits has sought protection from HHS birth-control rules: survey

One in 10 large nonprofits has asked the administration to shield it from Obamacare's birth-control rules, according to a survey released Tuesday that says many of them are likely Catholic colleges or hospitals that would qualify for the "accommodation" at the heart of an upcoming fight before the Supreme Court. Published December 1, 2015

Obamacare repeal bill likely to get to president for first time

Senate Republicans put themselves on track to pass a long-sought bill this week to dismantle Obamacare and strip funding from Planned Parenthood for one year, finalizing a measure Tuesday that will put a major repeal of the Affordable Care Act on President Obama's desk for the first time. Published December 1, 2015

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell speaks in Washington on July 28, 2014. (Associated Press) **FILE**

HHS: 87K fewer deaths from hospital-related conditions in 2010-2014

An estimated 87,000 fewer patients died between 2010 from 2014 because of a marked reduction in infections and other conditions that can be acquired during hospital stays, according to an Obama administration report Tuesday that said the decrease saved $20 billion in health costs. Published December 1, 2015

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California Republican (Associated Press) **FILE**

House Majority Leader: Congress will avoid shutdown

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Monday he expects Congress to navigate a thorny debate over national security and abortion politics and strike a deal to keep federal operations moving past Dec. 11. Published November 30, 2015

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. **FILE**

Obamacare waivers present dilemma for administration

President Obama faces a major decision on Obamacare over the next year as states begin to apply for waivers to the sweeping law, pressuring the administration to either welcome or resist experimentation with his top domestic achievement. Published November 26, 2015

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the leading Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said that allowing politics to seep into the federal judicial system by slow-walking the president's court nominees would "create dangers for a generation to come." (Associated Press)

Obama judicial nominees in limbo as 'nuclear option' backfires on Democrats

The Republican-controlled Senate is confirming President Obama's judicial nominees this year at a slower pace than Democrats did after taking the Senate majority in 2007 under President George W. Bush, prompting court watchers to warn that politics is skewing the process. Published November 25, 2015

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin walks to a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, as Republican lawmakers prepare to push legislation through the House erecting fresh hurdles for Syrian and Iraqi refugees trying to enter the U.S. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Conservatives urge GOP to hamstring Obamacare risk program

Over two dozen conservative groups asked GOP leaders Tuesday to make certain that a looming spending deal reins in a part of Obamacare designed to protect insurers during the overhaul's early -- and financially precarious -- rounds of enrollment. Published November 24, 2015

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

Prescription drug abuse plagues U.S., stymies policymakers

More than half of all Americans say they or someone they know has abused prescription painkillers, according to a poll being released Tuesday that also found a significant share knew someone who died from opioid use. Published November 24, 2015