Terrorists associated with al-Qaeda detonated a car bomb in the basement of the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. Six people were killed in the attack and more than 1,000 injured.
Anti-government domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh detonated a truck bomb at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The explosion killed 168 people, including nineteen children.
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act instituted major reforms in federal welfare assistance. The act ended the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program, created time-based assistance limits, and instituted “workfare,” which required work in exchange for relief.
President Clinton signed the Balanced Budget Act designed to balance the national budget by 2002. The legislative package instituted taxpayer relief and changes in federal entitlement programs and provided for health insurance coverage for uninsured children.
President Bush signed the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001. The legislation made sweeping changes to the federal tax code by lowering income tax rates and implementing a one-time tax refund payment. A second “Bush tax cut”—the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003—reduced income and capital gains tax rates and increased deductions.
With British support, the United States launched “Operation Enduring Freedom,” a combat effort in Afghanistan. The Taliban refused to cooperate with efforts to root out al-Qaeda in that country. Early efforts to remove the Taliban from power were successful, though many of its operatives fled to Pakistan.
In the wake of the September 11th attacks, the Office of Homeland Security was established by President Bush’s Executive Order 13228. The agency was a counter-terrorism organization intended to “respond to terrorist threats of attacks.”
Congress passed the USA Patriot Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism). The act provided law-enforcement agencies and the Justice Department more power in investigating and dealing with suspected terrorists, loosened constraints on wiretaps and internet monitoring, and allowed for the detainment and deportation of non-citizens believed to pose risks to national security. The act proved controversial as many viewed its measures as unconstitutional infringements on...