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Mr. DORN. And the chairman of the committee has also received a telegram from Paul Breit, director of the Los Angeles, Calif., Institute of Industrial Sciences.
Without objection, this telegram will also be made a part of the record. (The telegram follows:)
LOS ANGELES, CALIF., February 26, 1960. Congressman OLIN TEAGUE, House Veterans Affairs Committee, House Office Building, Washington, D.C.:
Gentlemen, we urge that cold war vets bill, Senate bill 1138, be taken out of committee and voted upon to extend educational benefits to persons whose education was interrupted due to services to their country. This will help to rectify existing inequalities and will serve to raise educational levels throughout the Nation. Sincerely,
Director, Los Angeles California Institute. Mr. Dorn. Our first witness this morning will be Congressman Carl Elliott from Alabama.
Mr. Elliott, we are delighted to have you appear before the committee.
You may proceed.
STATEMENT OF HON. CARL ELLIOTT, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF ALABAMA
Mr. ELLIOTT. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for the privilege of appearing here. I support legislation to extend the benefits of the GI bill of rights to all who serve in our Armed Forces.
First, I want to pay my respects to you, Mr. Chairman Teague, for your distinguished work in the field of veterans legislation. The veterans of America, and indeed the Nation as a whole, are now benefiting from the outstanding job you did in writing the education and training program for Korean veterans.
Also, I recall the fact, Mr. Chairman, that you conducted an exhaustive study of the World War II education and training programs for veterans, and out of that study came one of the most significant pieces of legislation to pass the Congress in many years—the Korean GI bill. I recall, too, your able work on the war orphan's education bill. I have been proud to follow your leadership in this legislative field, and I am proud of the fact that I was privileged to serve with you on the Veterans Affairs Committee in the 21st and 82d Congresses.
I want to say that no Member of Congress has been more closely associated with or made a greater contribution to the education of veterans than has the chairman. I know that you will give the legislation now before this committee your most careful attention, and I am confident that when a bill is reported by the committee that it will be correct in philosophy as well as technically correct.
Mr. Chairman, one of the bills now before your committee is my own bill, H.R. 6464. It is patterned closely after the GI bills for the veterans of World War II and the Korean war. I was one of the sponsors of the Korean GI bill.
The bills before you provide, as did those acts, for three types of assistance: (1) Educational and vocational training; (2) vocational rehabilitation training for veterans with service-connected disabilities; (3) guaranteed and direct loan assistance for (a) the purchase of homes, including homes on farms, and (6) farmlands, livestock, and machinery that are used in farming operations conducted by the
Mr. Chairman, I strongly urge the adoption of the legislation now before this committee. The legislation is justified because it provides fair treatment for all; it is justified because our young men serve under a forced draft and therefore their lost time in civilian life should result in some advantages to make it up. They should be assisted to readjust to civilian life with a minimum of personal problems.
But, more than anything else we must weigh the provisions of this Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act from the standpoint of its effect on the national welfare.
From the standpoint of Government cost, it amounts to only a temporary expenditure. I am confident that this act, along with its predecessors, will pay for itself. The Veterans' Administration has said that veterans trained under the GI bill of rights have raised their income level to a point where they are paying $1 billion a year more in taxes than they would have paid had they not received education and training.
This bill will have an impact on our national economy by virtue of increasing the earning power of the individuals who receive training which in turn increases their ability to contribute to the productive forces of our economy.
It will have an impact on our national defense by increasing the knowledge and skills of our people. Men drafted today who serve on active duty for 2 years must then serve an additional 3 years in the Reserve. The value of the man who serves 2 years active duty, and who has a college or vocational education, is much greater than the man who serves only 2 years.
And then, Mr. Chairman, I think we must remember the fact that our present draft law does not compel national service from all young men. In actual operation, the draft exacts from one man considerable sacrifices in time and loss of earning power, and this same law makes it possible for the young man, who because of more fortunate circumstances, does not have to fulfill any military obligation. If a young man has the financial resources that enable him to enroll in college, then he can be exempted from military service. As it stands this places an undue burden on the young man who does not have comparable resources. It seems inconsistent to me that we would exempt one young man because he has the money to go to college, and then at the same time deny these educational benefits to the young man who does go into military service and does complete his 2-year obligation.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, I believe that the more education we can provide for America's young men and women the stronger America will be. As H. G. Wells wrote, "Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.”
The veterans readjustment assistance bills before you simply provide for an investment. The legislation is an expression of faith in America's young men and women. It is a living insurance program for the future.
I strongly support this legislation, Mr. Chairman, and urge this committee to give it a favorable report.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the privilege of appearing today. Mr. DORN. Thank you, Mr. Elliott, for your statement.
We will next hear from Hon. William H. Meyer, Congressman at Large, State of Vermont. STATEMENT OF HON. WILLIAM H. MEYER, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF VERMONT Mr. MEYER. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate this opportunity to testify in favor of the GI bill legislation now under consideration by this committee. I am generally in accord with the principles of assistance embodied in the related bills before you. The proposed educational and job-training assistance, vocational rehabilitation help, and loan assistance to post-Korean veterans would help to remedy the inequities which exist under our present draft law and would be a constructive move toward easing the transition from Army to civilian life.
Along with many others, I have spoken before concerning the inequities of our present draft system. I do not intend to take the time here to discuss these in detail, but I do want to point out that I strongly favor adequate pay scales for inductees and men in the lower ranks of the armed services.
If such wages were comparable to those received in civilian life, we might be able to recruit on a volunteer basis for all branches of the armed services and certainly would have higher reenlistment rates. This would provide better defense for the country and possibly promote economy in the long run.
Actually, I recommend a just system that would eliminate the need for the special benefits now proposed. However, such changes have not been made and until they are and as long as the draft is continued, I believe that we have a moral responsibility to support legislation of this type. Such assistance is not a giveway to veterans; it is merely delayed payment for services rendered. It is simple justice to those who serve our country.
Only a small percentage of the young men eligible for the draft are actually called. The pool of manpower is growing, as more young men reach draft age each year.
For those who are drafted, the interruption of studies and plans for a career is a serious matter. The draftee is put at a serious disadvantage compared with those who stay on in their jobs or in schools. The salary of the draftee is so low that saving for the future must be extremely difficult, if not impossible.
In addition, it has been noted that the draft is often discriminatory against those from less well-to-do families; the boy who must drop out of school in order to earn future tuition is subject to the draft, while the more aflluent are deferred through college and graduate school until past the 26-year age limit.
Enactment of legislation providing educational and loan assistance to post-Korean veterans would be a positive step toward correcting these inequities. The educational and vocational help would make additional training feasible for veterans who had no outside funds. In addition, a very real benefit resulting from such a program would be the strengthening of the educational position of our country.
I would like to take a moment to point out the importance of previous legislation of this type in Vermont. There are approximately 26,000 World War II veterans, 13,000 Korean veterans, and 3,000 veterans of both Korea and World War II in Vermont. Approximately 21,500 of these veterans have participated in the educational and vocational training programs previously authorized.
I also endorse provisions to assist veterans by direct loans and loan guarantees for buying homes, farms, and livestock and farming equipment.
In summation, I would say that I prefer a more comprehensive solution to peacetime GI problems but that I must support these proposals in lieu of better ones because the circumstances demand that action be taken.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
STATEMENT OF HON. MELVIN PRICE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF ILLINOIS
Mr. Price. Mr. Chairman, I greatly appreciate your courtesy in granting the privilege to me of testifying on this bill that would extend to veterans of our cold-war period some of the advantages and recompenses all of us were glad to see extended to servicemen during World War II and during the Korean conflict.
I suppose that this bill, on which the other body has acted favorably, might be labeled controversial, since anything about which human beings disagree, however reasonable their differences, may be accorded that dubious and unhappy term. It would be a great pity if we allowed the label to interfere with our analysis of the merits of the bill. These merits, in my viewpoint, are substantial and commanding
What is it that the measure sugegsts? It is simply that those young men who are either drafted into or enlist in our Armed Forces during this period of international tension be extended certain benefits in recompense for the interruption of their normal lives to serve the needs of their country:
I do not say that it is improper for their lives to be interrupted. When the Nation and society that have guarded their upbringing need their help in return, it is entirely correct that they be called upon.
The fact remains that service is not universal and that the call to service, for those who are drafted and very often for those who volunteer, involves an element of compulsion. We are not dealing, in considering this bill, primarily with professionals who wish to make a military career. We are dealing with citizen soldiers, sailors, or airmen. Our society is picking them out and making it incumbent upon them, either literally or by powerful persuasion, to leave civilian life temporarily for the country's purposes. And, as all know, this obligation does not strike with equal force on all our young men.
It seems to me no more than equitable that our Government should seek to equalize matters. Indeed, it would seem that the moral argument for equalizing things is very strong.
What does the bill offer? The same type of advantages offered those in wars—a chance of an education, of a business or farm or home-buying opportunity on somewhat more generous terms than those obtainable in the marketplace. The direct-grant element would be confined to disability and to schooling, and any veteran drawing a college grant would be compelled to maintain himself in the top half of his college class. The remainder of the program envisages primarily loans-repayable advances to assist in business ventures or housing of which the principal of loans would come back 100 percent to the Treasury, along with interest—and interest items seem to be mounting these days on GI loans as well as others.
I cannot see how it can be argued that it was right for us to vote GI benefits during the wars and wrong for us to vote these generally similar benefits, although less generously, to those compelled to serve during a period of so-called peace that is really tension ridden and difficult.
It is argued that a better program would be adoption of an educational loan program applicable to veterans and nonveterans alike. This may very well be true—but does anyone believe that this Congress is about to approve such a program or that, if we did, it would survive the opposition of the Bureau of the Budget? We know that it would not; we know that no such bill is going to become law. I do not see why we should have to let this bill die merely because in a purely hypothetical sense some other unattainable system would make it unnecessary. What this bill offers veterans of the cold war is something they can use in the here and now—not pie in the sky, and it is justified to them as a matter of equity.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Our last congressional witness this morning is Representative Abraham J. Multer of New York.
It is a pleasure to have you here with us this morning, Mr. Multer, and you may proceed.
STATEMENT OF HON. ABRAHAM J. MULTER, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Mr. MULTER. Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee, thank you for giving me the opportunity to appear in support of H.R. 4807. As you know, this bill would provide vocational rehabilitation, education and training benefits, and loan guarantees for those individuals called upon to serve during the cold war.
You are also aware, I am sure, of the many efforts made by the Congress and by the Armed Forces to attract adequate manpower into our military services. Many reasons have been advanced concerning