The National Security Agency , an agency of the Department of Defense, is responsible for cryptographic and communications intelligence. Traditionally, law enforcement in the United States has been concentrated in the hands of local police officials, though the number of federal law-enforcement officers began to increase in the late 20th century. The bulk of the work is performed by police and detectives in the cities and by sheriffs and constables in rural areas.
Many state governments also have law-enforcement agencies, and all of them have highway-patrol systems for enforcing traffic law. The investigation of crimes that come under federal jurisdiction e. In addition, certain federal agencies—such as the Drug Enforcement Administration of the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms of the Department of the Treasury —are empowered to enforce specific federal laws.
In the early 21st century, more than one-tenth of the general population—and about one-sixth of children under 18 years of age—lived in poverty. About half the poor live in homes in which the head of the household is a full- or part-time wage earner. Of the others living in poverty, many are too old to work or are disabled, and a large percentage are mothers of young children.
The states provide assistance to the poor in varying amounts, and the United States Department of Agriculture subsidizes the distribution of low-cost food and food stamps to the poor through the state and local governments. Unemployment assistance, provided for by the Social Security Act , is funded through worker and employer contributions.
Increasing public concern with poverty and welfare led to new federal legislation beginning in the s, especially the Great Society programs of the presidential administration of Lyndon B. Work, training, and rehabilitation programs were established in for welfare recipients.
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Between and the Office of Economic Opportunity began a number of programs, including the Head Start program for preschool children, the Neighborhood Youth Corps, and the Teacher Corps. Persons who have been employed are eligible for retirement pensions under the Social Security program, and their surviving spouses and dependent children are generally eligible for survivor benefits. Many employers provide additional retirement benefits, usually funded by worker and employer contributions. In addition, millions of Americans maintain individual retirement accounts, such as the popular k plan, which is organized by employers and allows workers sometimes with matching funds from their employer to contribute part of their earnings on a tax-deferred basis to individual investment accounts.
There are, nevertheless, many inadequacies in medical services, particularly in rural and poor areas. At the beginning of the 21st century, some two-thirds of the population was covered by employer-based health insurance plans, and about one-sixth of the population, including members of the armed forces and their families, received medical care paid for or subsidized by the federal government, with that for the poor provided by Medicaid. Approximately one-sixth of the population was not covered by any form of health insurance.
Barack Obama , who signed it into law in March Considered the most far-reaching health care reform act since the passage of Medicare—but vehemently opposed by most Republicans as an act of government overreach—the PPACA included provisions that required most individuals to secure health insurance or pay fines, made coverage easier and less costly to obtain, cracked down on abusive insurance practices, and attempted to rein in rising costs of health care. Grants are also made to researchers in clinics and medical schools. About three-fifths of the housing units in the United States are detached single-family homes, and about two-thirds are owner-occupied.
Most houses are constructed of wood, and many are covered with shingles or brick veneer.
The housing stock is relatively modern; nearly one-third of all units have been constructed since , while about one-fifth of units were built prior to The average home is relatively large, with more than two-thirds of homes consisting of five or more rooms. Housing has long been considered a private rather than a public concern. The growth of urban slums, however, led many municipal governments to enact stricter building codes and sanitary regulations.
In the Federal Housing Administration was established to make loans to institutions that would build low-rent dwellings.
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However, efforts to reduce slums in large cities by developing low-cost housing in other areas were frequently resisted by local residents who feared a subsequent decline in property values. For many years the restrictive covenant , by which property owners pledged not to sell to certain racial or religious groups, served to bar those groups from many communities. In the Supreme Court declared such covenants unenforceable, and in Pres. Newly elected Senator Edward Brooke of Massachusetts fourth from left attended the signing. At the start of the 90th Congress — , President Johnson once again called for a new civil rights bill.
This time, the Democratic strategy was to propose several bills based on the component parts of the failed bill from the 89th Congress.
In so doing, Democrats hoped to pass as many of the individual bills as possible. During the tumultuous summer of , access to housing was at the forefront of a national discussion on urban policy, particularly after violence erupted in cities such as Detroit and Newark, New Jersey. House Democrats were unable to attract support for a fair housing bill in the summer of But the House did pass a narrow civil rights bill on August 15, , which established federal penalties for anyone forcibly interfering with the civil and political rights of individuals.
The bill specified that civil rights workers would be afforded similar protections when serving as advocates for those trying to exercise their rights.
Many justified their resistance to the proposed legislation by highlighting the riots that broke out in July In the Senate, Republicans joined segregationist Democrats in what seemed to be formidable opposition to the bill. When the upper chamber finally began to debate the legislation in February , Senator Brooke joined with Senator Walter Mondale of Minnesota to draft an amendment designed to prohibit discrimination in the sale or rental of 91 percent of all housing in the nation. On the Senate Floor, Brooke described the way segregated neighborhoods, typically far from employment opportunities, did extensive damage to the African-American community.
When he declared that he was open to supporting the fair housing amendment with some revisions, negotiations began between the parties. The final bill included several concessions to Dirksen, such as reducing the housing covered by the fair housing provision. Also, an amendment was added to the bill to attract the support of Senators who had been reluctant to vote for the civil rights bill, which made it a federal crime to cross state lines to participate in a riot. An additional amendment prohibited Native American tribal governments from restricting the exercise of specific constitutional rights on their lands.
For decades, opponents on the Rules Committee blocked civil rights initiatives, and Colmer sought to keep the Senate bill off the floor by sending it to a conference committee, where it could be debated and revised, or simply stalled, by Members. On April 4—the day before the Rules Committee was scheduled to vote on whether to send the bill to the House Floor or to send it to conference—Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The Rules Committee postponed its vote. A violent weekend in cities across the nation resulted in 46 people killed, thousands injured, and millions of dollars in property damage before the National Guard helped quelled the disturbances.
Unexpectedly, a majority of the committee defied the chairman and voted to send the bill to the floor. Representative Joseph D.
- A Long History of Rancor.
- How Newt Gingrich Destroyed American Politics - The Atlantic.
- National security.
- Political Polarization | Pew Research Center.
Less than a week later, the House approved the Senate bill by a vote of to , and President Johnson signed it into law on April 11, The enforcement mechanisms of the fair housing provision, however, ended up being somewhat limited in that it required private individuals or advocacy groups to file suit against housing discrimination. Next Section. See also David J. A useful overview of Congress and civil rights is Timothy N. Zelizer Boston: Houghton-Mifflin Company, : — Another useful secondary work, which touches on aspects of the voting rights reform legislative effort, is Steven F.
Truman Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, : —, — Harry S. John T. Woolley and Gerhard, www. A more balanced interpretation is William I.
For an earlier, critical analysis of Eisenhower and his position on civil rights, see Chester Pach Jr. Eisenhower , revised edition Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, : — Carr , U. Sanders , U. Sims , U. Whittington, eds. Nevertheless, his failure to cast a vote for the final conference report for the Civil Rights Act of while on an extended European trip under the auspices of Congress raised eyebrows.
Moreover, the bill incorporated his long-time amendment banning federal funds to institutions that practiced segregation. It exposed the New York Representative to greater press scrutiny. Powell was present and voted for the original version of the bill, which passed the House on 10 February See Congressional Record , House, 88th Cong. For a full-length biography of Chairman Smith, see Bruce J. New York: Cambridge University Press, : For more on the Till lynching, see Stephen J. New York: Dial Press, : 81, — Mann, When Freedom Would Triumph : 40— Landsberg, ed.
New York: Thompson-Gale, : — For more on the story of voting rights legislation in the House, see Office of the Historian, U. See Office of the Historian, U. In , in the 11 original Confederate states, there were just 72 black elected officials.