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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.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks to reporters and members of the Communication Workers of America (CWA), following the union's endorsement of Sanders, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015, at the CWA's headquarters in Washington.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Bernie Sanders' spat with DNC over Hillary Clinton's campaign data breach stretches on

Sen. Bernard Sanders' bizarre spat with the Democratic National Committee stretched into a fourth day Sunday, with the grass-roots contender for the 2016 nomination tempering apologies for staff who breached his rival's campaign files with new swipes at the party's leaders, saying they've treated him unfairly. Published December 20, 2015

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

HealthCare.gov grabs 6 million customers

Roughly 6 million people selected a health plan on HealthCare.gov in time to be covered on Jan. 1, the Obama administration said Friday, boasting of a "very strong start" to the Obamacare signup season that outpaces last year's effort to beat a crucial mid-December deadline. Published December 18, 2015

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks with reporters after the Senate gave sweeping approval to a year-end budget package that boosts federal agency spending and awards tax cuts to both families and an array of business interests, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 18, 2015. President Obama will sign the measure, which includes many of the spending increases he fought for all year and is largely free of GOP attempts to block his moves on the environment, financial regulation, and consumer protection.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Sen. Mitch McConnell takes 2015 victory lap

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell closed out his first year in charge of the Senate with a victory lap Friday, saying bipartisan passage of a spending and tax-relief package caps a productive year in the upper chamber after years of gridlock. Published December 18, 2015

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. gestures during an end-of-the-year news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015, as the Congress moves toward passage of a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Congress passes $1 trillion spending bill, dodges shutdown crisis

Congress cleared a nearly $2 trillion package to fund the government and extend popular tax breaks while increasing the federal deficit by hundreds of billions, angering conservatives even as a host of Republicans linked arms with Democrats to usher the compromise to President Obama's desk and avert a Christmastime crisis. Published December 18, 2015

House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, examines a printout of the $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government for the 2016 budget year and extend $680 billion in tax cuts for businesses and individuals, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. President Barack Obama is expected to sign the legislation. (Associated Press)

House approves more than $600 billion in tax cuts

The House approved a $620 billion deal Thursday that solidifies a laundry list of tax breaks for businesses and families while pausing Obamacare's tax on medical device sales, part of a one-two punch against the overhaul as Congress scrambles to finish its work before the year ends. Published December 17, 2015

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2015 file photo, the HealthCare.gov website, where people can buy health insurance, is displayed on a laptop screen in Washington.  The government's insurance website is faster and easier to use, but as a third sign-up season gets underway, President Barack Obama's health care law is approaching limits.  (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

HealthCare.gov signups crest 4M as deadline nears

At least 4.1 million people have selected a 2016 health plan on HealthCare.gov, according to an Obamacare update released Wednesday that says more than 1 million people signed up in the last week alone. Published December 16, 2015

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, updates reporters as Congress works to meet deadlines for funding the government on Capitol Hill on Dec. 11, 2015. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Lifting oil ban tops list of Democratic 'concerns' with spending bill

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that lifting the decades-old ban on U.S. oil exports will cost jobs and is among a series of problems that Democrats have with a $1.1 trillion spending bill that Republicans posted in the dead of night. Published December 16, 2015

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said that while the GOP may not get everything it wants in ongoing budget negotiations to keep the government open, he remains hopeful that the U.S. oil export ban, long on the Republican priority list, can be lifted. (Associated Press)

Congress reaches budget deal to fund government

Congressional leaders agreed Tuesday to a sweeping deal that would fund the government through October, extend a package of popular tax breaks and lift the decades-old ban on U.S. oil exports -- a key policy win for GOP lawmakers who nonetheless said they didn't get everything they wanted out of the deal. Published December 15, 2015

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2015 file photo, the HealthCare.gov website, where people can buy health insurance, is displayed on a laptop screen in Washington.  The government's insurance website is faster and easier to use, but as a third sign-up season gets underway, President Barack Obama's health care law is approaching limits.  (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

White House touts Obamacare in year-end push

The administration on Monday told the uninsured to log onto HealthCare.gov and select a plan within 24 hours so they are covered by Jan. 1 and avoid a tax penalty under Obamacare. Published December 14, 2015

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley) ** FILE **

7 in 10 Kentuckians want to keep Medicaid expansion

More than 70 percent of Kentuckians don't want Gov.-elect Matt Bevin to scale back the state's Medicaid program, according to a survey released Friday that paints a complex portrait of Obamacare politics as the Republican takes charge. Published December 11, 2015

House Ways and Means Committee member Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., center, confers with the committee's ranking member Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, prior to going before the House Rules Committee as Congress works on legislation to avert a government shutdown when the funding runs out Friday night at midnight. White House and congressional negotiators are searching for compromise on huge tax and spending bills with a combined price tag of well over $1 trillion, with leaders hoping to clinch agreements and let Congress adjourn next week for the year. Ways and Means is the chief tax-writing committee in the House of Representatives. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) **FILE**

House passes funding bill to stave off shutdown, buy 5 days for deal

The House beat a midnight deadline Friday and passed a bill to fund the government for five more days, giving negotiators daylight to finalize a $1.1 trillion deal to fund federal agencies for one year and avert a holiday-season shutdown. Published December 11, 2015