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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.

The Capitol building in Washington, D.C. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

House GOP freshmen, top Democrat seek offramp from looming shutdown

Nearly a dozen freshmen Republicans pushed their party colleagues not to pursue hard-line tactics that risk yet another federal shutdown, while a top Democrat said Wednesday his party will not "burn down the House," as congressional factions jockeyed to meet next week's deadline to fund the government. Published September 23, 2015

"Right now, we're playing a game of chicken, and it's a dangerous game," said Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, who pleaded for her fellow Republicans to forgo a repeat of the 16-day shutdown in 2013. (Associated Press)

Planned Parenthood funding vote sets up government shutdown showdown

Senate Republicans set up a vote Thursday to withhold some money from Planned Parenthood as part of a deal to keep the government funded beyond the end of this month, cuing an abortion-tinged shutdown showdown just hours after Pope Francis addresses a joint meeting of Congress. Published September 22, 2015

FILE - In this Sept. 16, 2015 file photo, Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell of Ky. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Democrats seem certain to block Republican legislation banning most late-term abortions in a Senate showdown with plenty of political significance but little suspense. I'm asking colleagues to open their hearts and help defend the defenseless," McConnell said Monday. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Senate GOP unveils measure to fund government through Dec. 11

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday he will push a short-term spending bill that funds the government through Dec. 11 and redirects Planned Parenthood funding to other health centers amid controversy over the organization's abortion practice. Published September 22, 2015

FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2014 file photo, the HealthCare.gov website, where people can buy health insurance, is displayed on a laptop screen, in Portland, Ore. About 9.9 million people have signed up and paid for health insurance under President Barack Obama's health care law, the administration said Sept. 8, 2015, a slight dip from a previous count but on track toward the administration's year-end goal of 9.1 million.  (AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)

Obamacare website contractor paid $4M to fix own mistakes: audit

The Obama administration paid $4 million to a leading HealthCare.gov contractor to fix some of its own errors on the balky website, according to an audit Tuesday that says the government held back only a small portion of payments to the company that was ultimately dropped from the project. Published September 22, 2015

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

HHS: Number insured under Obamacare swells to 17.6 million

Roughly 17.6 million Americans are now insured because of Obamacare, the administration said Tuesday in a preview of the upcoming enrollment period that toggled between celebrating success and admitting the challenges that lie ahead in rooting out the remaining uninsured. Published September 22, 2015

In this March 25, 2015, file photo, Margot Riphagen, of New Orleans, wears a birth control pills costume as she protests in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, as the court heard oral arguments in the challenges of President Barack Obama's health care law requirement that businesses provide their female employees with health insurance that includes access to contraceptives. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Court sides with faith-based groups on Obamacare birth control mandate

A federal appeals court Thursday ruled in favor of faith-based nonprofits who fought Obamacare's birth control rules, dealing an elusive victory to religious employers who now have a stronger hand in urging the Supreme Court to shield them from the administration's "contraception mandate." Published September 17, 2015

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Sept. 16, 2015. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Senate Democrats deny GOP bid to block Iran deal

Senate Democrats blocked last-ditch GOP bids Thursday to upend President Obama's nuclear deal with Iran, forcing Republicans to move on to other fights as both sides looked to ensure Tehran's compliance with the pact down the road. Published September 17, 2015

Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin, Illinois Democrat, speaks during a new conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 5, 2015. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Senate Democrats to GOP: Too risky to bring U.S. prisoners into the Iran debate

Senate Democrats chided GOP leaders Wednesday for bringing U.S. prisoners in Iran into the debate over President Obama's contentious nuclear deal with the regime in Tehran, saying Republicans were playing politics with anguished families and could imperil delicate negotiations to free the four men. Published September 16, 2015

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said the Senate will keep debating the Iran nuclear deal and take votes Thursday. (Associated Press)

Mitch McConnell to force tough votes on Iran, 4 U.S. prisoners

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that he'll force tough votes this week on whether senators back Iran over Israel and over four American prisoners still being held by the regime in Tehran as all sides scrambled for ways to stiffen the nuclear deal President Obama reached with the Islamic republic. Published September 15, 2015

President Obama meets with veterans and Gold Star Mothers in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington on Sept. 10, 2015. (Associated Press) **FILE**

CBO: Repealing Obamacare mandate would save taxpayers $305B

Congressional budget minders say repealing Obamacare's "individual mandate" would save taxpayers more than $305 billion and increase the number of uninsured Americans by 14 million over the next decade. Published September 15, 2015

General Electric Co. and its subsidiaries exported nearly $5 billion worth of products since 2006 using Ex-Im guarantees. In the past three years, the company has kept nearly $120 billion in profits offshore, corporate records and the ITEP database show. That's more than twice as much deferred taxes as any other company that received Ex-Im guarantees, databases show. (Associated Press)

GE says it's moving 500 jobs overseas, reigniting fight over Ex-Im Bank

General Electric announced Tuesday it will move 500 jobs overseas, placing the blame squarely on Congress for failing to revive the Export-Import Bank, an obscure credit agency that had financed overseas sales for decades until a conservative revolt led to its mid-summer demise. Published September 15, 2015

President Obama will need to more than double the number of Americans enrolled in Obamacare exchange plans to reach 21 million next year, the target set in budget projections, in what is shaping up as the next major test for the health care law. (Associated Press)

Obamacare enrollees must double to make budget projections work

President Obama will need to more than double the number of Americans enrolled in Obamacare exchange plans to reach 21 million next year, the target set in budget projections, in what is shaping up as the next major test for the health care law. Published September 13, 2015