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FY 77 LEGISLATIVE RECOMMENDATIONS OF

VETERANS' ORGANIZATIONS

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 1976

U.S. SENATE,
COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS,

Washington, D.C. The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 2 p.m., in caucus room 318, Russell Office Building, the Honorable Jennings Randolph, presiding.

Present: Acting chairman Jennings Randolph, presiding, and Senators Robert T. Stafford and Strom Thurmond.

OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. JENNINGS RANDOLPH, ACTING

CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS

Senator RANDOLPH, The Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs is a committee composed of members of both the Democratic and Republican parties. But in the consideration of legislation important to you and other veterans through organizations such as yours and there are, of course, several-yours particularizes in one degree and that is the use of the word disabled.

I sometimes think the most disabling situation a person can be in is to have envy in his heart or malice in his heart or be constantly angry at someone. And I think perhaps that is the disability that we run into very often.

I am delighted to see Senator Javits come into the room and to indicate that there is a particular reason why, I am sure, Senator Javits would want to introduce the National Commander of the Disabled American Veterans.

Now, Senator Javits, as you can well realize, there are reasons why members of our committee are not present today. Our very able chairman is in his State of Indiana and other members of the committee, both Democrat and Republican, will hopefully come here.

There is no partisanship within this committee. We have operated under that rule. We do have the advantage of the presence of the Senator from Vermont. I would like for you, Bob, just to say welcome to these members of this organization.

Senator STAFFORD. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

I do wish to extend welcome for the minority side of this committee. As Senator Randolph says, it is a nonpartisan committee that has worked for the interest of veterans, all veterans ever since it has been formulated.

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The distinguished Senator from West Virginia, Senator Randolph and I, both also serve on the Subcommittee on Handicapped of the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare. So we have a double interest in looking after the welfare of disabled American veterans.

This Senator is a veteran himself of World War II and the Korean conflict. So I have some considerable interest in the welfare of veteranş generally. Senator Hansen, who is the ranking minority member, asked me to convey to you his regards and his warm interest in your welfare and tell you that he is currently in a committee of conference between the House and the Senate on a very important issue that needs to be settled this week if it is to be law before this Senate comes to an end.

So, Mr. Chairman, I am prepared to listen to our distinguished colleague from New York, introduce the commander of the DAV.

Senator RANDOLPH. Just a moment before the introduction, Senator Javits. I must not delay us, but I think it is important for you, Commander Randazzo, Frank

Mr. RANDAZZO. Yes, sir.

Senator RANDOLPH [continuing]. To know—and I make this announcement that could be made by any Member of the Senate—that the Senate yesterday by unanimous vote passed H.R. 14299, the Veterans Disability Compensation and Survivor Benefits Act of 1976. It would give an 8-percent cost-of-living increase to disabled veterans and survivors of veterans killed in the line of active duty.

It would take effect beginning on October 1 of this year. I checked in the last few minutes and I am assured from the House leadership that a similar action will be taken in that body today. So there is no reason why the measure should not move from the Hill to the President of the United States. I have every reason to believe that he will sign that measure. It is a bill which has equity for disabled veterans and I am glad to make that announcement.

Senator Javits, we are delighted to have you accompany the members of this organization and their leader and those who are associated with them in the positions of responsibility. We look upon your organization and your membership as composed of those individuals who not only have given service and have been disabled in the line of duty, buť men and women who carry on in the best tradition of being productive citizens of the United States of America. We would like for you to know that.

Mr. RANDAZZO. We thank you, sir, very much.
Senator RANDOLPH. Senator Javits.

STATEMENT OF HON. JACOB K. JAVITS, A U.S. SENATOR FROM THE

STATE OF NEW YORK

Senator Javits. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, I have a great honor today, not only to honor the Disabled American Veterans, which in itself is a great distinction, but to honor one of its sons who is now the National Commander, is a New Yorker living in a suburb of New York City, with a record which is quite traditional with us. He is an expert in criminology. He works in our New York State Supreme Court with good honor and distinction.

His service record in World War II is an illustrious one, having gone through many campaigns. If I may, I would like to refer to them very briefly

He served with the 5th Infantry in General Patton's 3rd Army. I had the privilege during the war of actually visiting with General Patton, but my general was a planning officer just as I was. Frank Randazzo has earned five bronze stars, four in the Normandy invasion and the Battle of the Bulge where he was seriously wounded on Christmas Eve, 1944.

He has a wonderful family and is altogether an excellent citizen.

Now, Mr. Chairman, I have a special honor in knowing that the committee, especially with the personnel that I know, will pay the most considered attention to the program, the legislative program of Disabled American Veterans. We who served and who were not wounded and suffered only the danger of sacrifice and those who are gone into their own—whom we can no longer honor and benefit except for their kin folk and families, but here are men who have suffered not the danger that we all ran, but suffered as well the wounds of war.

In the words of one of our greatest Presidents, one of our highest privileges is to bind up those wounds. The Disabled American Veterans are here to tell us how to do it.

Mr. Chairman, one last thought. Not only are they here to tell us how to do it, but this is one veterans' organization that does not seek friends through the wrong end of the telescope. I have had many meetings and conferences with the DAV and I always find that they take into consideration the general economic situation of the country, the wide-range of the obligations of the country and, therefore, even though they are entitled to the first priority, their ideas are always conditioned by what is good for America.

In addition, I know of no body of citizens which, as the Chair knows, which not withstanding its wounds and disabilities is more indefatigable in pursuit of our ideas of the work ethic and is more indefatigable in the effort to obtain a measure of justice insofar as their colleagues are disabled and deserve and require national help.

I wish to thank the officers of the DAV and its members for electing my fellow New Yorker as the new national commander.

Senator RANDOLPH. Senator Javits, you make not only an appropriate presentation of your friend and, let's say, fellow New Yorkeris that correct ? New Yorker?

Mr. RANDAZZO. Yes.

Senator RANDOLPH. But you made a very moving statement also about the responsibilities of citizenship, and the way that the members of this organization have addressed their responsibilities. Though, as you have indicated, they have suffered the wounds. But they desire, as hopefully all Americans desire, to work together to build a better United States of America and hopefully a better world.

So what you say here today I think reflects credit, not only on you, but it represents, I believe, the thinking of the men and women who are in this room, the officers and the commander of this organization.

Now, a vote is in process. Senator Stafford has hurried there to return so we will try to have continuity of one member of the committee to be here at all times. That may lapse just a moment.

I have recognized the Senator from South Carolina and he is going to be the anchorman for the time being.

Senator THURMOND. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We are delighted to see so many DAV members here today, especially our National Adjutant Denvel Adams, National Legislative Director Bill Gardiner, and National Commander Frank Randazzo. Senator Javits, we are glad to have you with us and you made a fine statement. Also in attendance are National Service Director Norman Hartnett, and the National Employment Director Ronald Drach.

I am so glad to see so many South Carolinians here. I saw about a dozen of them this morning. They were kind enough to come by my office. Vice Commander Dave McWhorter who represented the department commander and others are still coming into the hearing room. We are just so pleased to see all of you here. You are welcome in your Capitol at anytime.

I am very pleased to be a member of this organization. This was not bestowed upon me. I paid for it.

I am proud of this group because it is composed of wounded, disabled in service and those who have a purple heart. So it is a limited group of people. It is a unique group of people. It is a group of people who have been set aside, so to speak, and shall always be honored.

Now, I might say that the programs of this organization are very valuable to this country, as well as to the veterans. They render a service to their members in the many scholarships they offer, the local band programs, the Americanism program, which is most important and stands for strong national security, which is more important now than at any time, I think, since World War II.

Now, I am glad to tell you that the pension bill passed yesterday increasing pensions by 7 percent-I presume that most of you know that by now. The compensation bill is going back to the House now. The Senate has acted on it; if the House accepts those amendments, that will become law. It should be just in a day or so. And that will mean the increase.

But there are some things that we have to continue to stand for. I forgot to mention, too, that the education bill carries an 8 percent increase.

There are a few things, though, that I think are important. That is, to keep this hospital system separate and apart from HEW or any other hospital system. It belongs to the veterans and it shall stay with the veterans.

The next is the employment situation. I have advocated and we have introduced a bill in the hope that we can pass it providing an Assistant Secretary of Labor for veterans employment. This is badly needed because it is now way down the line and we want to bring it up. It has been made, with the assistance of a number of us, a special assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Labor. But we wanted it to be an Assistant Secretary where these veterans can be taken care of properly.

The other thing, I think is important, concerns our National Cemetery System. I am convinced that it is inconvenient to have regional cemeteries. Who wants to die in my State and be carried to Atlanta or Alabama or Mississippi or way away from home? The same thing applies with any State. I am not going to be satisfied until we get a veterans' cemetery in every State in this Nation.

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