Terrorists associated with al-Qaeda detonated a car bomb in the basement of the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. Six people were killed in the attack and more than 1,000 injured.
The US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms attempted to execute search and arrest warrants for the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, and sect leader David Koresh. An armed standoff began between government forces and the Branch Davidians. After fifty days of failed negotiations, US attorney general Janet Reno approved a plan for the siege of the compound. When the FBI attempted to overtake the compound in a tear gas assault, several fires broke out, and more than eighty Davidians died in the siege.
In Harris v. Forklift Systems, the Supreme Court ruled that workers charging sexual harassment need not prove inability to perform their tasks or psychological damage, instead applying the rule of “workplace equity.”
Anti-government domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh detonated a truck bomb at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The explosion killed 168 people, including nineteen children.
In one of the the most publicized criminal trials in American history, and one of the first to prominently feature DNA evidence, former professional football player O.J. Simpson was acquitted in the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.
In the Million Man March, first proposed by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, hundreds of thousands of African American men marched in Washington, DC, to address problems, create awareness, and promote respect for and within black communities.
A government shutdown began when President Bill Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress deadlocked on the federal budget. The first shutdown ended on November 19 with a temporary spending bill compromise. Another shutdown began on December 16 when Clinton refused to accept budget cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. Republicans, facing public disapproval over their handling of the budget issue, agreed to continuing resolutions on January 6, 1996.
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act instituted major reforms in federal welfare assistance. The act ended the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program, created time-based assistance limits, and instituted “workfare,” which required work in exchange for relief.
President Clinton signed the Balanced Budget Act designed to balance the national budget by 2002. The legislative package instituted taxpayer relief and changes in federal entitlement programs and provided for health insurance coverage for uninsured children.