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...
Led by Newt Gingrich, the Republican Party released its “Contract with America,” a pledge taken by three hundred Republican candidates for the House promising to reduce spending on welfare, balance the budget, and respect the “values . . . of the American family.”
Congress adopted the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as “a legal union between one man and one woman” and affirmed the right of states to refuse recognition of same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.