Act of Congress
An Act of Congress is a statute enacted by the United States Congress. It can either be a Public Law, relating to the general public, or a Private Law, relating to specific institutions or individuals; the term can be used in other countries with a legislature named "Congress", such as the Congress of the Philippines. In the United States, Acts of Congress are designated as either public laws, relating to the general public, or private laws, relating to specific institutions or individuals. Since 1957, all Acts of Congress have been designated as "Public Law X-Y" or "Private Law X-Y", where X is the number of the Congress and Y refers to the sequential order of the bill. For example, P. L. 111-5 was the fifth enacted public law of the 111th United States Congress. Public laws are often abbreviated as Pub. L. No. X-Y; when the legislation of those two kinds is proposed, it is called public bill and private bill respectively. The word "act", as used in the term "Act of Congress", is a common, not a proper noun.
The capitalization of the word "act" is deprecated by some dictionaries and usage authorities. Some writers, in particular the U. S. Code, capitalize "Act"; this is a result of the more liberal use of capital letters in legal contexts, which has its roots in the 18th century capitalization of all nouns as is seen in the United States Constitution. "Act of Congress" is sometimes used in informal speech to indicate something for which getting permission is burdensome. For example, "It takes an Act of Congress to get a building permit in this town." An Act adopted by simple majorities in both houses of Congress is promulgated, or given the force of law, in one of the following ways: Signature by the President of the United States, Inaction by the President after ten days from reception while the Congress is in session, or Reconsideration by the Congress after a presidential veto during its session. The President promulgates Acts of Congress made by the first two methods. If an Act is made by the third method, the presiding officer of the house that last reconsidered the act promulgates it.
Under the United States Constitution, if the President does not return a bill or resolution to Congress with objections before the time limit expires the bill automatically becomes an Act. In addition, if the President rejects a bill or resolution while the Congress is in session, a two-thirds vote of both houses of the Congress is needed for reconsideration to be successful. Promulgation in the sense of publishing and proclaiming the law is accomplished by the President, or the relevant presiding officer in the case of an overridden veto, delivering the act to the Archivist of the United States. After the Archivist receives the Act, he or she provides for its publication as a slip law and in the United States Statutes at Large. Thereafter, the changes are published in the United States Code. An Act of Congress that violates the Constitution may be declared unconstitutional by the courts; the judicial declaration of an Act's unconstitutionality does not remove the law from the statute books.
However, future publications of the Act are annotated with warnings indicating that the statute is no longer valid law. Legislation List of United States federal legislation for a list of prominent acts of Congress. Procedures of the United States Congress Act of Parliament Coming into force Enactment Federal Register http://bensguide.gpo.gov/6-8/glossary.html
Tax Reform Act of 1986
The U. S. Congress passed the Tax Reform Act of 1986 to simplify the income tax code, broaden the tax base and eliminate many tax shelters. Referred to as the second of the two "Reagan tax cuts", the bill was officially sponsored by Democrats, Richard Gephardt of Missouri in the House of Representatives and Bill Bradley of New Jersey in the Senate; the Tax Reform Act of 1986 was given impetus by a detailed tax-simplification proposal from President Reagan's Treasury Department, was designed to be tax-revenue neutral because Reagan stated that he would veto any bill, not. Revenue neutrality was achieved by offsetting tax cuts for individuals by eliminating $60 billion annually in tax loopholes and shifting $24 billion of the tax burden from individuals to corporations by eliminating the investment tax credit, slowing depreciation of assets, enacting a stiff alternative minimum tax on corporations; the top tax rate for individuals for tax year 1987 was lowered from 50% to 38.5%. Many lower level tax brackets were consolidated, the upper income level of the bottom rate was increased from $5,720/year to $29,750/year.
This package consolidated tax brackets from fifteen levels of income to four levels of income. The standard deduction, personal exemption, earned income credit were expanded, resulting in the removal of six million poor Americans from the income tax roll and a reduction of income tax liability across all income levels; the higher standard deduction simplified the preparation of tax returns for many individuals. For tax year 1987, the Act provided a graduated rate structure of 11%/15%/28%/35%/38.5%. Beginning with tax year 1988, the Act provided a nominal rate structure of 15%/28%/33%. However, beginning with 1988, taxpayers having taxable income higher than a certain level were taxed at an effective rate of about 28%; this was jettisoned in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990, otherwise known as the "Bush tax increase", which violated his Taxpayer Protection Pledge. The Act increased incentives favoring investment in owner-occupied housing relative to rental housing. Prior to the Act, all personal interest was deductible.
Subsequently, only home mortgage interest was deductible, including interest on home equity loans. The Act phased out many investment incentives for rental housing, through extending the depreciation period of rental property to 27.5 years from 15-19 years. It discouraged real estate investing by eliminating the deduction for passive losses. To the extent that low-income people may be more to live in rental housing than in owner-occupied housing, this provision of the Act could have had the tendency to decrease the new supply of housing accessible to low-income people; the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit was added to the Act to provide some balance and encourage investment in multifamily housing for the poor. Moreover, interest on consumer loans such as credit card debt was no longer deductible. An existing provision in the tax code, called Income Averaging, which reduced taxes for those only making a much higher salary than before, was eliminated; the Act, increased the personal exemption and standard deduction.
The Individual Retirement Account deduction was restricted. The IRA had been created as part of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, where employees not covered by a pension plan could contribute the lesser of $1500 or 15% of earned income; the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 removed the pension plan clause and raised the contribution limit to the lesser of $2000 or 100% of earned income. The 1986 Tax Reform Act retained the $2000 contribution limit, but restricted the deductibility for households that have pension plan coverage and have moderate to high incomes. Non-deductible contributions were allowed. Depreciation deductions were curtailed. Prior to ERTA, depreciation was based on "useful life" calculations provided by the Treasury Department. ERTA set up the "accelerated cost recovery system"; this set up a series of useful lives based on three years for technical equipment, five years for non-technical office equipment, ten years for industrial equipment, fifteen years for real property.
TRA86 lengthened these lives, lengthened them further for taxpayers covered by the alternative minimum tax. These latter, longer lives approximate "economic depreciation," a concept economists have used to determine the actual life of an asset relative to its economic value. Defined contribution pension contributions were curtailed; the law prior to TRA86 was that DC pension limits were the lesser of 25% of compensation or $30,000. This could be accomplished by any combination of elective deferrals and profit sharing contributions. TRA86 introduced an elective deferral limit of $7000, indexed to inflation. Since the profit sharing percentage must be uniform for all employees, this had the intended result of making more equitable contributions to 401's and other types of DC pension plans; the 1986 Tax Reform Act introduced the General Nondiscrimination rules which applied to qualified pension plans and 403 plans that for private sector employers. It did not allow such pension plans to discriminate in favor of compensated employees.
A compensated employee for the purposes of testing a plan's compliance for the 2006 plan year is any employee whose compensation exceeded $95,000 in the 2005 plan year. Therefore, all new hires are by definition nonhighly compensated employees. A plan could not give benefits or contributions on a more favorable basis for
Law of the United States
The law of the United States comprises many levels of codified and uncodified forms of law, of which the most important is the United States Constitution, the foundation of the federal government of the United States. The Constitution sets out the boundaries of federal law, which consists of Acts of Congress, treaties ratified by the Senate, regulations promulgated by the executive branch, case law originating from the federal judiciary; the United States Code is the official compilation and codification of general and permanent federal statutory law. Federal law and treaties, so long as they are in accordance with the Constitution, preempt conflicting state and territorial laws in the 50 U. S. in the territories. However, the scope of federal preemption is limited because the scope of federal power is not universal. In the dual-sovereign system of American federalism, states are the plenary sovereigns, each with their own constitution, while the federal sovereign possesses only the limited supreme authority enumerated in the Constitution.
Indeed, states may grant their citizens broader rights than the federal Constitution as long as they do not infringe on any federal constitutional rights. Thus, most U. S. law consists of state law, which can and does vary from one state to the next. At both the federal and state levels, with the exception of the state of Louisiana, the law of the United States is derived from the common law system of English law, in force at the time of the American Revolutionary War. However, American law has diverged from its English ancestor both in terms of substance and procedure, has incorporated a number of civil law innovations. In the United States, the law is derived from five sources: constitutional law, statutory law, administrative regulations, the common law. Where Congress enacts a statute that conflicts with the Constitution, state or federal courts may rule that law to be unconstitutional and declare it invalid. Notably, a statute does not automatically disappear because it has been found unconstitutional.
Many federal and state statutes have remained on the books for decades after they were ruled to be unconstitutional. However, under the principle of stare decisis, no sensible lower court will enforce an unconstitutional statute, any court that does so will be reversed by the Supreme Court. Conversely, any court that refuses to enforce a constitutional statute will risk reversal by the Supreme Court. Commonwealth countries are heirs to the common law legal tradition of English law. Certain practices traditionally allowed under English common law were expressly outlawed by the Constitution, such as bills of attainder.</ref> and general search rrts. As common law courts, U. S. courts have inherited the principle of stare decisis. American judges, like common law judges elsewhere, not only apply the law, they make the law, to the extent that their decisions in the cases before them become precedent for decisions in future cases; the actual substance of English law was formally "received" into the United States in several ways.
First, all U. S. states except Louisiana have enacted "reception statutes" which state that the common law of England is the law of the state to the extent that it is not repugnant to domestic law or indigenous conditions. Some reception statutes impose a specific cutoff date for reception, such as the date of a colony's founding, while others are deliberately vague. Thus, contemporary U. S. courts cite pre-Revolution cases when discussing the evolution of an ancient judge-made common law principle into its modern form, such as the heightened duty of care traditionally imposed upon common carriers. Second, a small number of important British statutes in effect at the time of the Revolution have been independently reenacted by U. S. states. Two examples are the Statute of 13 Elizabeth; such English statutes are still cited in contemporary American cases interpreting their modern American descendants. Despite the presence of reception statutes, much of contemporary American common law has diverged from English common law.
Although the courts of the various Commonwealth nations are influenced by each other's rulings, American courts follow post-Revolution Commonwealth rulings unless there is no American ruling on point, the facts and law at issue are nearly identical, the reasoning is persuasive. Early on, American courts after the Revolution did cite contemporary English cases, because appellate decisions from many American courts were not reported until the mid-19th century. Lawyers and judges used English legal materials to fill the gap. Citations to English decisions disappeared during the 19th century as American courts developed their own principles to resolve the legal problems of the American people; the number of published volumes of American reports soared from eighteen in 1810 to over 8,000 by 1910. By 1879 one of the delegates to the California constitutional convention was complaining: "Now, when we require them to state the reasons for a decision, we do not mean they shall write a hundred pages of detail.
We not mean that they shall include the small cases, impose on the country all this fine judici
Revenue Act of 1913
The Revenue Act of 1913 known as the Underwood Tariff or the Underwood-Simmons Act, re-established a federal income tax in the United States and lowered tariff rates. The act was sponsored by Representative Oscar Underwood, passed by the 63rd United States Congress, signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson. Wilson and other members of the Democratic Party had long seen high tariffs as equivalent to unfair taxes on consumers, tariff reduction was President Wilson's first priority upon taking office. Following the ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment in 1913, Democratic leaders agreed to seek passage of a major bill that would lower tariffs and implement an income tax. Underwood shepherded the revenue bill through the House of Representatives, but the bill won approval in the United States Senate only after extensive lobbying by the Wilson administration. Wilson signed the bill into law on October 3, 1913; the Revenue Act of 1913 lowered average tariff rates from 40 percent to 26 percent.
It established a one percent tax on income above $3,000 per year. A separate provision established a corporate tax of one percent, superseding a previous tax that had only applied to corporations with net incomes greater than $5,000 per year. Though a Republican-controlled Congress would raise tariff rates, the Revenue Act of 1913 marked an important shift in federal revenue policy, as government revenue would rely on income taxes rather than tariff duties. Democrats had long seen high tariff rates as equivalent to unfair taxes on consumers, tariff reduction was President Wilson's first priority upon taking office, he argued that the system of high tariffs "cuts us off from our proper part in the commerce of the world, violates the just principles of taxation, makes the government a facile instrument in the hands of private interests." While most Democrats were united behind a decrease in tariff rates, most Republicans held that high tariff rates were useful for protecting domestic manufacturing and factory workers against foreign competition.
Shortly before Wilson took office, the Sixteenth Amendment, proposed by Congress in 1909 during a debate over tariff legislation, was ratified by the requisite number of states. Following the ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment, Democratic leaders agreed to attach an income tax provision to their tariff reduction bill to make up for lost revenue, to shift the burden of funding the government towards the high earners that would be subject to the income tax. By late May 1913, House Majority Leader Oscar Underwood had passed a bill in the House that cut the average tariff rate by 10 percent. Underwood's bill, which represented the largest downward revision of the tariff since the Civil War, aggressively cut rates for raw materials, goods deemed to be "necessities," and products produced domestically by trusts, but it retained higher tariff rates for luxury goods; the bill instituted a tax on personal income above $4,000. Passage of Underwood's tariff bill in the Senate would prove more difficult than in the House because some Southern and Western Democrats favored the continued protection of the wool and sugar industries, because Democrats had a narrower majority in that chamber.
Seeking to marshal support for the tariff bill, Wilson met extensively with Democratic senators and appealed directly to the people through the press. After weeks of hearings and debate and Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan managed to unite Senate Democrats behind the bill; the Senate voted 44 to 37 in favor of the bill, with only one Democrat voting against it and only one Republican, progressive leader Robert M. La Follette Sr. voting for it. Wilson signed the Revenue Act of 1913 into law on October 3, 1913; the Revenue Act of 1913 reduced the average import tariff rates from 40 percent to 26 percent. The Act established the lowest rates since the Walker Tariff of 1857. Most schedules were a percentage of the value of the item; the duty on woolens went from 56% to 18.5%. Steel rails, raw wool, iron ore, agricultural implements now had zero rates; the reciprocity program wanted by the Republicans was eliminated. Congress rejected proposals for a tariff board to fix rates scientifically, but it set up a study commission.
The Underwood-Simmons measure vastly increased the free list, adding woolens, steel, farm machinery, many raw materials and foodstuffs. The average rate was 26%; the Revenue Act of 1913 restored a federal income tax for the first time since 1872. The federal government had adopted an income tax in the Wilson–Gorman Tariff Act, but that tax had been struck down by the Supreme Court in the case of Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co; the Revenue Act of 1913 imposed a one percent tax on incomes above $3,000, with a top tax rate of six percent on those earning more than $500,000 per year. Three percent of the population was subject to the income tax; the bill included a one percent tax on the net income of all corporations, superseding a previous federal tax that had only applied to corporate net incomes above $5,000. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the income tax in the cases of Brushaber v. Union Pacific Railroad Co. and Stanton v. Baltic Mining Co. A normal income tax and an additional tax were levied against the net income of individuals, as shown in the following table: There was an exemption of $3,000 for single filers and $4,000 for married couples.
Therefore, the 1% bottom marginal rate applied only to the first $17,000 of income for single filers or the first $16,000 ($352,300 in
Medicare (United States)
Medicare is a national health insurance program in the United States, begun in 1966 under the Social Security Administration and now administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It provides health insurance for Americans aged 65 and older, younger people with some disability status as determined by the Social Security Administration, as well as people with end stage renal disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Medicare is funded by a combination of a payroll tax, beneficiary premiums and surtaxes from beneficiaries, general U. S. Treasury revenue. In 2017, Medicare provided health insurance for over 58 million individuals—more than 49 million people aged 65 and older and about 9 million younger people. On average, Medicare covers about half of healthcare expenses of those enrolled. According to annual Medicare Trustees reports and research by the government's MedPAC group, the enrollees almost always cover their remaining costs either with additional insurance, or by joining a Medicare health plan.
No one uses United States Medicare only. No matter which of those two options the beneficiaries choose or if they choose to do nothing extra, beneficiaries have out of pocket costs. OOP costs can include co-pays. Medicare is divided into four Parts. Medicare Part A covers hospital, skilled nursing, hospice services. Part B covers outpatient services including some providers' services while inpatient at a hospital, outpatient hospital charges, most provider office visits if the office is "in a hospital," and most professionally administered prescription drugs. Part D covers self-administered prescription drugs. Part C is an alternative called Managed Medicare by the Trustees that allows patients to choose health plans with at least the same service coverage as Parts A and B the benefits of Part D, always an annual OOP spend limit which A and B lack; the beneficiary must enroll in Parts A and B first before signing up for Part C. The name "Medicare" was given to a program providing medical care for families of people serving in the military as part of the Dependents' Medical Care Act, passed in 1956.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower held the first White House Conference on Aging in January 1961, in which creating a health care program for social security beneficiaries was proposed. In July 1965, under the leadership of President Lyndon Johnson, Congress enacted Medicare under Title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide health insurance to people age 65 and older, regardless of income or medical history. Johnson signed the bill into law on July 30, 1965 at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri. Former President Harry S. Truman and his wife, former First Lady Bess Truman became the first recipients of the program. Before Medicare was created 60% of people over the age of 65 had health insurance, with coverage unavailable or unaffordable to many others, as older adults paid more than three times as much for health insurance as younger people. Many of this latter group became "dual eligible" for both Medicare and Medicaid with passing the law. In 1966, Medicare spurred the racial integration of thousands of waiting rooms, hospital floors, physician practices by making payments to health care providers conditional on desegregation.
Medicare has been operated for a half century and, during that time, has undergone several changes. Since 1965, the program's provisions have expanded to include benefits for speech and chiropractic therapy in 1972. Medicare added the option of payments to health maintenance organizations in the 1970s; as the years progressed, Congress expanded Medicare eligibility to younger people with permanent disabilities and receive Social Security Disability Insurance payments and to those with end-stage renal disease. The association with HMOs begun in the 1970s was formalized under President Bill Clinton in 1997 as Medicare Part C. In 2003, under President George W. Bush, a Medicare program for covering all self-administered prescription drugs was passed as Medicare Part D; the government added hospice benefits to aid elderly people on a temporary basis in 1982, made this permanent in 1984. Congress further expanded Medicare in 2001 to cover younger people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a component of the U.
S. Department of Health and Human Services, administers Medicare, the Children's Health Insurance Program, the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments, parts of the Affordable Care Act. Along with the Departments of Labor and Treasury, the CMS implements the insurance reform provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and most aspects of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 as amended; the Social Security Administration is responsible for determining Medicare eligibili
The Origination Clause, sometimes called the Revenue Clause, is Article I, Section 7, Clause 1 of the United States Constitution. This clause says that all bills for raising revenue must start in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as in the case of other bills; the Origination Clause stemmed from a British parliamentary practice that all money bills must have their first reading in the House of Commons before being sent to the House of Lords. This practice was intended to ensure that the power of the purse is possessed by the legislative body most responsive to the people, although the British practice was modified in America by allowing the Senate to amend these bills; this clause was part of the Great Compromise between large states. The large states were unhappy with the lopsided power of small states in the Senate, so the Origination Clause theoretically offsets the unrepresentative nature of the Senate, compensating the large states for allowing equal voting rights to Senators from small states.
The Origination Clause known as the Revenue Clause, reads as follows: All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives. The federal Constitution was written in 1787 and adopted in 1789. Prior to 1787, several state constitutions followed British practice by providing that "money bills" must start in the more representative branch of the state legislature. Vesting the power of origination in the U. S. House of Representatives was part of the Great Compromise, in which the framers agreed to allow equality in the Senate regardless of a state's population, while creating representation based on a State's population in the House; the framers adopted the Great Compromise on July 16, 1787. At that point, the draft clause stated: "all bills for raising or appropriating money.... Shall originate in the, shall not be altered or amended by the.... "The Origination Clause was modified in 1787 to reduce the House's power by allowing the Senate to amend revenue bills, by removing appropriation bills from the scope of the clause.
However, a proposal was defeated that would have reduced the House's power more by changing "bills for raising revenue" to "bills for raising money for the purpose of revenue". James Madison explained: In many acts in the regulations of trade, the object would be twofold; the raising of revenue would be one of them. How could it be determined, the primary or predominant one. Regarding the decision to allow Senate amendments, some of the reasoning was given by Theophilus Parsons during the convention in Massachusetts that ratified the Constitution. Madison believed that the difference between a permissible Senate amendment and an impermissible Senate amendment would, "turn on the degree of connection between the matter & object of the bill and the alteration or amendment offered to it."During that era, the Continental Congress had a rule stating: "No new motion or proposition shall be admitted under color of amendment as a substitute for a question or proposition under debate until it is postponed or disagreed to."
At the Virginia convention to ratify the Constitution, delegate William Grayson was concerned that a substitute amendment could have the same effect as an origination: "the Senate could strike out every word of the bill except the word whereas, or any other introductory word, might substitute new words of their own." Grayson was not convinced by Madison's argument that "the first part of the clause is sufficiently expressed to exclude all doubts" about where the origination must occur. In its final form, the Origination Clause was a major selling point for ratification of the Constitution. James Madison, who supported the final version during and after the 1787 Convention, wrote the following in Federalist 58 as the debate over ratification was raging: The house of representatives can not only refuse, but they alone can propose the supplies requisite for the support of government, they in a word hold the purse. This power over the purse, may in fact be regarded as the most compleat and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure.
This clause resonated with a citizenry opposed to taxation without representation. Many scholars have written about the Origination Clause. Among the most influential was Joseph Story, who wrote in 1833 that the clause refers only to bills that levy taxes: has been confined to bills to levy taxes in the strict sense of the words, has not been understood to extend to bills for other purposes, which may incidentally create revenue. No one supposes, that a bill to sell any of the public lands, or to sell public stock, is a bill to raise revenue, in the sense of the constitution. Much less would a bill be so deemed, which regulated the value of foreign or domestic coins, or authorized a discharge of insolvent debtors upon assignments
United States Department of the Treasury
The Department of the Treasury is an executive department and the treasury of the United States federal government. Established by an Act of Congress in 1789 to manage government revenue, the Treasury prints all paper currency and mints all coins in circulation through the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the United States Mint, respectively. S. government debt instruments. The Department is administered by the Secretary of the Treasury, a member of the Cabinet. Senior advisor to the Secretary is the Treasurer of the United States. Signatures of both officials appear on all Federal Reserve notes; the first Secretary of the Treasury was Alexander Hamilton, sworn into office on September 11, 1789. Hamilton was appointed by President George Washington on the recommendation of Robert Morris, Washington's first choice for the position, who had declined the appointment. Hamilton established—almost singlehandedly—the nation's early financial system and for several years was a major presence in Washington's administration.
His portrait appears on the obverse of the ten-dollar bill, while the Treasury Department building is depicted on the reverse. The current Secretary of the Treasury is Steven Mnuchin, confirmed by the United States Senate on February 13, 2017. Jovita Carranza, appointed on April 28, 2017, is the incumbent treasurer; the history of the Department of the Treasury began in the turmoil of the American Revolution, when the Continental Congress at Philadelphia deliberated the crucial issue of financing a war of independence against Great Britain. The Congress had no power to levy and collect taxes, nor was there a tangible basis for securing funds from foreign investors or governments; the delegates resolved to issue paper money in the form of bills of credit, promising redemption in coin on faith in the revolutionary cause. On June 22, 1775—only a few days after the Battle of Bunker Hill—Congress issued $2 million in bills. On July 29, 1775, the Second Continental Congress assigned the responsibility for the administration of the revolutionary government's finances to joint Continental treasurers George Clymer and Michael Hillegas.
The Congress stipulated. To ensure proper and efficient handling of the growing national debt in the face of weak economic and political ties between the colonies, the Congress, on February 17, 1776, designated a committee of five to superintend the Treasury, settle accounts, report periodically to the Congress. On April 1, a Treasury Office of Accounts, consisting of an Auditor General and clerks, was established to facilitate the settlement of claims and to keep the public accounts for the government of the United Colonies. With the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, the newborn republic as a sovereign nation was able to secure loans from abroad. Despite the infusion of foreign and domestic loans, the united colonies were unable to establish a well-organized agency for financial administration. Michael Hillegas was first called Treasurer of the United States on May 14, 1777; the Treasury Office was reorganized three times between 1778 and 1781. The $241.5 million in paper Continental bills devalued rapidly.
By May 1781, the dollar collapsed at a rate of from 500 to 1000 to 1 against hard currency. Protests against the worthless money swept the colonies, giving rise to the expression "not worth a Continental". Robert Morris was designated Superintendent of Finance in 1781 and restored stability to the nation's finances. Morris, a wealthy colonial merchant, was nicknamed "the Financier" because of his reputation for procuring funds or goods on a moment's notice, his staff included a comptroller, a treasurer, a register, auditors, who managed the country's finances through 1784, when Morris resigned because of ill health. The treasury board, consisting of three commissioners, continued to oversee the finances of the confederation of former colonies until September 1789; the First Congress of the United States was called to convene in New York on March 4, 1789, marking the beginning of government under the Constitution. On September 2, 1789, Congress created a permanent institution for the management of government finances:Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That there shall be a Department of Treasury, in which shall be the following officers, namely: a Secretary of the Treasury, to be deemed head of the department.
Alexander Hamilton took the oath of office as the first Secretary of the Treasury on September 11, 1789. Hamilton had served as George Washington's aide-de-camp during the Revolution and was of great importance in the ratification of the Constitution; because of his financial and managerial acumen, Hamilton was a logical choice for solving the problem of the new nation's heavy war debt. Hamilton's first official act was to submit a report to Congress in which he laid the foundation for the nation's financial health. To the surprise of many legislators, he insisted upon federal assumption and dollar-for-dollar repayment of the country's $75 million debt in order to revitalize the public credit: "he debt of the United States was the price of liberty; the faith of America has been pledged for it, with solemnities that give peculiar force to the obligation." Hami