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FIFTY-EIGHTH ANNUAL NATIONAL CONVENTION OF THE AMERICAN LEGION,

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, AUGUST 24, 25, 26, 1976
Resolution : No. 139 (Massachusetts)
Committee : Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation
Subject: The American Legion Policy on National Health Insurance

Whereas, the national debate on the merits of national health insurance continues; and

Whereas, it must be anticipated that the 95th Congress, which will convene in January 1977, will undertake consideration of national health insurance legislation; and

Whereas, The American Legion has not participated in the debate on national health insurance, considering the subject to be not germane to the purposes for which The American Legion was organized ; and

Whereas, throughout the debate on the subject of national health insurance, The American Legion has publicly made known its single position on the subject, to wit, that any national health insurance program that may be enacted into law must not be permitted to constitute a threat to the integrity of the Veterans' Administration medical care program for veterans; and

Whereas, The American Legion's position on the subject of national health insurance is set forth in the Report of the Special Medical Care Advisory Committee, adopted as American Legion policy by the 1972 National Convention, and in the Report of the National Commander's Ad Hoc Committee on National Health Insurance, adopted as policy by the National Executive Committee in May 1974; and

Whereas, The American Legion has at each opportunity, made known its position on national health insurance to the appropriate Committees of Congress; and

Whereas, The American Legion's position on national health insurance continues to be as it is set forth in the policies aforementioned ; and

Whereas, it will be necessary for The American Legion to make known its position to the 95th Congress; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, by The American Legion in National Convention assembled in Seattle, Washington, August 24, 25, 26, 1976, that the National Commander is authorized and directed to seek and use whatever opportunities may be available to make known to the Congress and to the President that it is the earnest recommendation of The American Legion that national health insurance legislation shall include the following provisions :

1. That the medical care program operated by the Veterans' Administration is recognized as one providing health care services exclusively for veterans, and it shall continue to be so maintained and operated

2. That a veteran applying for medical care from the Veterans' Administration, to which he is otherwise entitled, and who, in accordance with existing law and regulations is required to state his inability to pay for his own care, shall not be required to consider, in making such statement, any medical benefits that would accrue to him under the provisions of a Federal Health Care Act; and, be it further

Resolved, that if the provisions set forth above are included in a Federal Health Care Act, then The American Legion shall make no objection to any section of the Act providing for reimbursement to the Veterans' Administration, for cost of treatment rendered the veteran for non-service-connected disabilities, of benefits to which the veteran may be entitled under a Federal Health Care Act; and, be it finally

Resolved, that The American Legion shall actively oppose the enactment of a Federal Health Care Act that does not include the provisions set forth in the first Resolve clause of this Resolution. Approved with amendment. FIFTY-EIGHTH ANNUAL NATIONAL CONVENTION OF THE AMERICAN LEGION,

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, AUGUST 24, 25, 26, 1976 Resolution : No. 195 (Colorado) Committee : Veterans' Affairs and Rehabilitation Subject: Opposes enactment by the Congress of any provision of any measure

which would subject veterans benefits and services to periodic scheduled review and reauthorization

Whereas, bills have been introduced in the Congress of the United States to provide for the elimination of inactive and overlapping Federal programs, to require authorization of new budget authority for Government programs and activities every four years, and to establish a procedure for zero-base review and evaluation of Government programs and activities every four years (with the exception of those programs and activities which are funded through trust funds); and

Whereas, under the provisions of these proposed measures, Veterans' Administration programs and activities (Function 700—veterans benefits and services) would be placed on a four-year cycle of authorization of new budget authority; and

Whereas, the Veterans Administration experiences constant oversight, not only by the standing Veterans' Affairs Committees of the United States Congress, but also by the General Accounting Office; and

Whereas, a study of the actions taken by the oversight Committees and veterans legislation enacted by the Congress, as codified in 38 USC, clearly establishes that there are no duplicative or inactive veterans benefits and services programs; and

Whereas, The American Legion believes that the end result of a quadrennial reauthorization and scheduling for review by budget function category or group would be consolidation of veterans benefits and services with other nonveteran health, housing, and income maintenance programs, and the deterioration of the Veterans' Administration as the single agency to administer these benefits and services for veterans and their dependents and survivors; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, by The American Legion in national convention assembled in Seattle, Washington, August 24, 25, 26, 1976, that The American Legion shall use every means at its disposal to oppose enactment of those provisions of any measure which would subject Veterans' Administration veterans benefits and services to a periodically scheduled review and new authorization.

Approved with amendment.

FIFTY-EIGHTH ANNUAL NATIONAL CONVENTION OF THE AMERICAN LEGION,

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, AUGUST 24, 25, 26, 1976 Resolution : No. 373 (District of Columbia) Committee : Veterans' Affairs and Rehabilitation Subject: Sponsor and support legislation to authorize the Administrator of

Veterans' Affairs to increase dependency and indemnity compensation

monthly rates in accordance with advances in the cost-of-living index Whereas, the Servicemen's and Veterans Survivors Benefits Act, effective January 1, 1957, established the dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC) program for those widows and children of servicemen and veterans who died of service-connected causes; and

Whereas, this Act, as amended, established a grade related system of monthly DIC payments to eligible survivors; and

Whereas, as now provided under authorizing legislation, the Congress, from time to time, must enact legislation to provide cost-of-living increases for those widows and children receiving, or who may become eligible to receive, DIC payments; and

Whereas, The American Legion believes that DIC payments, like Armed Forces and other retired Federal employees, should increase automatically to a cost-of-living index; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, by The American Legion in national convention assembled in Seattle, Washington, August 24, 25, 26, 1976, that The American Legion sponsor and support legislation to amend 38 USC, Chapter 13, so as to provide that the Administrator of Veterans Affairs be authorized to increase these monthly DIC payments in accordance with the cost-of-living index formula established for active duty personnel of the Armed Forces.

Approved with amendment.

FIFTY-EIGHTH ANNUAL NATIONAL CONVENTION OF THE AMERICAN LEGION,

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, AUGUST 24, 25, 26, 1976

Resolution : No. 476 (Convention Committee)
Committee : Veterans' Affairs and Rehabilitation

Subject: Oppose approval by the United States Senate or House of Representa

tives of those resolutions that would reassign any existing jurisdiction and related functions from the Committee on Veterans Affairs to any other

Committee Whereas, H. Res. 1225 and other measures in the 94th Congress propose to revise Rule X of the Rules of the House of Representatives to establish a standing Committee on Health to have jurisdiction and related functions assigned it by clauses 2, 3, and 4; and all bills, resolutions and matters relating to subjects within its jurisdiction; and

Whereas, H. Res. 1225 and similar measures would amend Rule X of the Rules of the House of Representatives so as to provide that the jurisdiction of the standing Committee on Veterans Affairs on “veterans hospitals, medical care, and treatment of veterans” shall be transferred to the jurisdiction of the standing “Committee on Health"; and

Whereas, The American Legion has supported measures that establish a Committee on Veterans' Affairs both in the House of Representatives and the United States Senate; and

Whereas, the jurisdiction of these Veterans' Affairs Committees has been assigned to (1) veterans measures generally, (2) cemetery matters, generally, (3) compensation, vocational rehabilitation, and education of veterans, (4) life insurance issued by the Government on account of service in the Armed Forces, (5) pensions of all the wars of the United States, generally and special, (6) readjustment of servicemen to civilian life, (7) soldiers and sailors civil relief, and (8) veterans hospitals, medical care, and treatment of veterans; and

Whereas, The American Legion continues to believe that standing Committees on Veterans' Affairs, both in the United States Senate and in the House of Representatives, should continue to have jurisdiction and related functions as presently assigned under their existing rules ; and

Whereas, The American Legion also believes that such reassignment of jurisdiction and function from the standing Committees on Veterans' Affairs would be the beginning step in the disintegration of the Veterans Administration as the single agency to administer benefits programs from veterans and their dependents or survivors; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, by The American Legion in national convention assembled in Seattle, Washington, August 24, 25, 26, 1976, that The American Legion shall vigorously oppose passage of those resolutions, either by the House of Representatives or the United States Senate, which would reassign any of the existing jurisdictions or related functions of the standing Committees on Veterans Affairs to any other Committee.

Approved.

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

Washington, D.C. The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 11:30 a.m., in room 4230, Dirksen Office Building, the Honorable Alan Cranston, presiding.

Present: Chairman Alan Cranston, presiding, and Senators Herman E. Talmadge, Jennings Randolph, Richard (Dick) Stone, John A. Durkin, Spark M. Matsunaga, Robert T. Stafford, and Strom Thurmond.

OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. ALAN CRANSTON, CHAIRMAN OF

THE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS AFFAIRS

Chairman CRANSTON. The meeting will please come to order.

Gentlemen, it's my pleasure to welcome The American Legion today to present their legislative recommendations for 1977. Greeting The American Legion as chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee is a new experience for me. In fact, this is the first meeting of the Veterans' Affairs Committee since I was named as permanent chairman by the Senate last week. I'm delighted that it provides as its first step a session with the Legion of which I am very proud to be a member. I know that Bob Stafford is also delighted to have this first opportunity. And when I have finished saying just a few words, Bob will say whatever he chooses to.

I think it's fair to say that without The American Legion I would not be sitting here as chairman of the full Committee on Veterans' Affairs. Your effort were vital to the combined effort to save the Veterans' Affairs Committee. I congratulate all of you on the hard fought, well planned and highly successful campaign. [Applause.]

I look forward to serving as chairman of this committee. I look forward to continuing a close working relationship with The American Legion and indeed all veterans' organizations. My goal as chairman is to assure that veteran's benefits and programs are administered in the most equitable, efficient and compassionate way possible. I know that we share that goal.

The committee plans during the 95th Congress to examine closely and monitor on a continuing basis the operation of all veterans' programs in order to try to assure they are working as intended. I can promise you that we will continue the bipartisan approach which has

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characterized the work of this committee throughout its 6-year history, and I look forward to continuing to work cooperatively for America's veterans with all the majority and minority members of this committee.

I welcome our newest member, Senator Spark Matsunaga of Hawaii.

In addition to welcoming to Washington those of you from out of town, I also welcome those members of The American Legion whose job it is to work with the Congress throughout the year. The American Legion can be very proud of its national legislative officers. Mylio Kraja, Ed Lord and Phil Riggin do a fine job of representing the Legion here on the Hill.

The announcement last Friday of the nomination of Max Cleland as the Administrator of Veterans Affairs is the most gratifying and welcome selection for me. Max, as most of you are aware, has worked for this committee as consultant and professional staff member for the past 2 years. He is a close personal friend and associate of mine, so I take particular pleasure in his selection. I believe all America's veterans will come to know Max as intelligent, compassionate, toughminded person and a truly great Administrator of Veterans Affairs.

We have a very active schedule for today. I'm sure most of you realize that within the hour

the Congress will convene a joint session in order to hear Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.

I will reserve any further comments or questions until after your presentation. I would also ask other members of the committee to be brief at this time.

Again, welcome to Washington.

I would now like to yield to Senator Stafford, our newly designated ranking minority member. And I would like to say that I'm very pleased that he is in that role. I can think of no one with whom I would rather work with in this very important responsibility. [Applause.]

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

I join you in my pleasure in serving with you on this committee. And I would like to say to the Legionnaires generally that I wouldn't be here either if it weren't for your efforts, and I particularly mean that to the Vermont Legionnaires who not only helped us keep this committee but helped this Senator stay in the U.S. Senate.

I am deeply regretful of the fact that I was denied by a 14-inch snowstorm in Albany, N.Y., the privilege of speaking to a large-segment of The American Legion yesterday, but that's one of the hazards we face in northern New England. And I am very happy to be here with you today.

I will stop here so that our distinguished Maine Senator Muskie can introduce the national commander. And I look forward with you, Senator Cranston, and Senator Randolph, to the message which we will get from the national commander.

Chairman CRANSTON. Thank you very much.

Before we proceed to hear Senator Muskie, Senator Randolph and Senator Talmadge are here. If either of you have very brief remarks to make, you are both outstanding members of this committee and that would be most appropriate.

Senator TALMADGE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. My apologies for being late.

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