• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

A manual offering information on the most important laws and treaties approved by Congress in more than 200 years since the first session in 1789. Each Congress is covered in a separate chapter introduced by a historical essay setting the actions of the legislators in the context of their times.

Ninety-Seventh Congress: January 3, 1981, to January 3, 1983
Ninety-seventh Congress: January 3, 1981, to January 3, 1983
  • First session—January 5, 1981, to December 16, 1981
  • Second session—January 25, 1982, to December 23, 1982
  • (First administration of Ronald Reagan, 1981–1985)
Historical Background

Minutes after Ronald Reagan, the oldest person to be elected president of the United States, took the oath of office, Iran released the fifty-two U.S. hostages seized at the American Embassy in Tehran in 1979. In his first State of the Union message, Reagan, as he had done during the presidential campaign, called for substantial cuts in both federal spending ($41 billion) and taxes (10 percent over three years). He also requested a $5 billion increase in defense expenditures.

On March 30, 1981, as he was leaving a Washington, ...

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