Us Presidents 3042 Essay Research Paper 30 — страница 4

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planned to present to Congress a sweeping legislative program similar to that of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first “100 days.” The closeness of the election caused him to proceed more cautiously, but in his first months in office he sent CONGRESS a record number of messages proposing broad programs to promote more rapid economic growth, rehabilitate depressed areas, improve urban housing and development, reform tax legislation, revise the farm program, conserve and develop natural resources, aid education, and provide better medical care for the aged. In effect, he was establishing his long-range goals. At the time he obtained little more from Congress than relatively short-range legislation to help pull the nation out of a mild recession in 1961. Kennedy’s domestic program

remained largely in the planning stage throughout his administration. Congress did not heed his urging for programs of tax reform and aid to education, and it killed his proposals for a department of urban affairs and for medical aid for the aged. In January 1963 he proposed a reduction in income taxes as a means of stimulating economic growth. Congress, however, delayed passage of the tax cut until February 1964, three months after his death. Kennedy’s action on a proposed steel price increase in 1962 resulted in one of the most controversial domestic issues of his administration. In March of that year he persuaded the united steelworkers to accept a contract he hailed as “noninflationary.” A few days later, the United States Steel Corporation announced an increase of 3.5%

in its prices, and most other steel companies did likewise. In the three days that followed, Kennedy brought such intense pressure to bear that the companies rescinded the increases. But in the aftermath, businessmen widely criticized the president as being hostile to them. Civil Rights was the most difficult national problem to face President Kennedy. Throughout his political career he had taken a moderate stand on civil rights, although his administration gave strong legal support to the foes of segregation. In June 1963, as pressure for racial equality mounted, the president addressed the nation, declaring that the United States faced a “moral crisis” as a result of discontent among blacks. Later that month he sent a special message to Congress, calling for extensive civil

rights legislation. As with the tax cut, Congress delayed action and did not pass a comprehensive civil rights bill until the summer of 1964, after the president’s death. 36. President – Lyndon Baines Johnson Term – November 22, 1963 to January 20, 1969 At the top of the new president’s agenda was enactment of Kennedy’s proposals on civil rights and taxes. The proposals had been made earlier in the year, but Congress had failed to take final action on them. Now, however, Congress acted. With Johnson in the White House, Congress behaved in domestic affairs, as it had not done since Franklin Roosevelt’s first term. In 1964 it passed the Tax Reduction Act, which reflected the economic theory that at times the federal government must spend more than it takes in order to

stimulate economic growth. Congress also passed a very broad civil rights law that attacked segregation, banned discrimination in public accommodations, and eliminated restrictions in job opportunities. And these new laws were only Johnson’s largest victories. The situation in the country, as well as Johnson’s talents, contributed to these accomplishments in 1964. Kennedy had done much of the preparatory work, and his assassination had generated a national mood that tended to remove opposition to his proposals. The militant civil rights movement exerted pressure, and scholars and publicists alerted the public to the existence of major problems in American society, poverty above all. But Johnson’s leadership was an important factor. From the first he employed all of his

tested techniques for dealing with Congress, and he supplemented these with frequent speeches that, in effect, appealed over the heads of the congressmen to the people themselves. Since the spring of 1964, Johnson had talked of building a “Great Society,” and he had organized a series of “task forces” to help give concrete meaning to this concept. With their help, by January 1965, he was armed with a series of messages and drafts of bills. The first sessions of the 89th Congress passed into law a variety of proposals, some of which had been bottled up for years. Medicare, a system of health insurance for the elderly under the Social Security program, was established. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlawed illiteracy tests and removed other obstacles that tended to prevent