The ascent to power of the Republican-controlled 104th Congress early in 1995 brought with it the promise of "devolution," that is, a reallocation of power from the federal government to state and local governments. The Republican leadership promised legislation to devolve power to the states in areas such as welfare, school lunch programs, legal services for the poor, speed limits on interstate highways, and other spheres in which the federal government had played a dominant role for decades. No longer would we have "one size fits all" government; instead, the Republican leadership vowed, policy would be made and programs would be administered at a level closer to the citizenry, in a manner presumably more responsive to local needs.

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