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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.

Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican and presidential hopeful, speaks during a town hall meeting in Exeter, N.H. on June 25, 2015. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Marco Rubio files amendment to kill off Ex-Im Bank

Sen. Marco Rubio and a conservative ally filed an amendment Wednesday to affirmatively kill off the federal Export-Import Bank, even as supporters of the lapsed agency plotted to revive it as part of debate on a must-pass highway bill. Published July 23, 2015

FILE - In this June 16, 2015, file photo, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, , R-Ky., speaks to members of the media following the weekly Republican luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington. McConnell said July 20 he hopes to announce soon that he and Sen. Barbara Boxer of California have reached an agreement on a transportation bill. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Senate strikes deal for long-term highway bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and a top Democrat said Tuesday they've struck a deal to fund road projects for years to come, cuing up a fast-moving debate ahead of a July 31 deadline to infuse cash into the nation's highway trust fund. Published July 21, 2015

Questionable Obamacare claims cost taxpayers $2 billion

More than 700,000 Obamacare customers claimed tax credits for buying health care but didn't bother to file their taxes, potentially jilting the government out of $2 billion in bogus payments, the Senate's senior lawmaker said Monday. Published July 20, 2015

Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican and presidential hopeful, speaks at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, on July 18, 2015. (Associated Press)

Ted Cruz takes aim at Congress' Obamacare 'exemption'

Sen. Ted Cruz, a vocal conservative running for president, will push to expose and prevent fellow members of Congress from "exempting" themselves from Obamacare this week, adding sparks to an already-fraught debate over a highway bill that needs to pass by July 31. Published July 20, 2015

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky speaks in Elizabethtown Ky., in this May 26, 2015, file photo. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)

Congress guts Bush-era No Child Left Behind education plan

Both chambers of Congress have now voted to scrap much of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind education plan, meaning the government will continue to ship billions of dollars to states, but will cut or loosen many of the strings attached to the funding. Published July 16, 2015

Top Senate Dem dismisses GOP's claims of Obamacare fraud

An undercover operation that snuck nearly a dozen fake Obamacare enrollees into taxpayer-subsidized plans is proof the administration will pad the law's numbers at any cost, Republicans charged Thursday, although a top Democrat argued the stark findings didn't amount to real fraud. Published July 16, 2015

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, Utah Republican, speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 21, 2015. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Watchdog finds potential for fraud in Obamacare subsidies

Fake Obamacare enrollees were able to sign up for subsidized plans and to renew them for a second year, the government's top watchdog reported Wednesday, exposing embarrassing holes and potential fraud in President Obama's signature health care law. Published July 15, 2015

Republican Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at the Iowa Faith & Freedom 15th Annual Spring Kick Off, in Waukee, Iowa, Saturday, April 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik) ** FILE **

Ted Cruz and tea partyers: Let the Ex-Im Bank stay dead

Sen. Ted Cruz and other conservatives told GOP leaders Wednesday not to let Congress revive the federal Export-Import Bank, an agency that financed the sale of U.S. goods overseas for decades but is creeping toward a slow death, after lawmakers failed to renew its charter by the June 30 deadline. Published July 15, 2015

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas (Associated Press) **FILE**

Ted Cruz defends 'bold, brash' Donald Trump ahead of sit-down

Sen. Ted Cruz defended fellow presidential candidate Donald Trump Wednesday ahead of his sit-down later in the day with the business mogul, saying the rest of the 2016 field simply is scared of his "bold, brash voice." Published July 15, 2015

House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., presides over his committee's hearing on President Barack Obama's health care law implementation and the Health and Human Service's Department fiscal 2016 Budget request, Wednesday, June 10, 2015, on Capitol Hill in Washington. At right Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

House GOP pushes 5-month highway funding extension

Key House Republicans have filed legislation to extend federal highway funding for five months, casting it as a way to keep road projects moving beyond a July 31 deadline while buying enough time to fund the six-year bill that both parties want. Published July 14, 2015