« PreviousContinue »
Whereas youths entering military service immediately on graduation have had no higher education during their 2, 3, or 4 years of service (Army, Navy, Air Force, respectively), while those deferred or exempt from military service have had the opportunity to spend that time in college or university; and
Whereas those who left school after graduation to serve their country now have no job awaiting them, while those deferred or exempt may have a job priority accumulated during that time; and
Whereas the amount spent by our Government prior to 1955 for educational provisions has paid dividends, when we measure the results by the specialists it provided this Nation; and
Whereas it is not the intent of the American people to let down the men and women who serve their country in time of peace or war; and
Whereas our Armed Forces of today are called, and stand ready to be called, to the troubled parts of the world; and
Whereas the Senate has already approved a similar bill providing educational scholarships and other benefits for peacetime veterans: Therefore be it
Resolved, That the 24 auxiliaries of the Ninth District, Department of Michigan, Ladies Auxiliary to Veterans of Foreign Wars, go on record as supporting bill S. 1138, which is a peacetime education bill for veterans who have entered service since January 31, 1955; and be it also
Resolved, That our Congressmen of the House of Representatives be requested to consider favorably S. 1138. Submitted to district meeting, February 28, 1960.
By GERALDINE PALMER, Edmore, Legislative Chairman.
Saginaw, District President. Passed unanimously by 84 members in attendance at a meeting at St. Johns, Mich., of the Ninth District, Department of Michigan, Ladies Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, on Feb. 28, 1960.
District 9 President. Mr. Haley. The committee tomorrow will have before it the national commander of the AMVETS. The committee will convene, of course, at the normal time of 10 o'clock.
This series of hearings will be continued on March 14. That completes the agenda of the committee set up for this morning.
(Whereupon, at 11:38 a.m., Wednesday, March 9, 1960, the committee was adjourned.)
READJUSTMENT BENEFITS FOR INDIVIDUALS ENTERING THE ARMED SERVICES AFTER JANUARY 31, 1955
MONDAY, MARCH 14, 1960
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C. The committee met, pursuant to recess, at 10 a.m., in room 356, Old House Office Building, Hon. James A. Haley, acting chairman, presiding.
Mr. HALEY. The committee will be in order. Our first witness this morning is the Honorable Wright Patman, distinguished Congressman from Texas and a fine friend of the veterans for many years, and a very able and outstanding Member of this or any other Congress in which I served. We are very glad to have you with us.
STATEMENT OF HON. WRIGHT PATMAN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS
Mr. Patman. Thank you, sir. I appreciate those kind words.
Mr. Haley. I really mean it, Mr. Patman, because you have really been a true friend of the veterans for many, many years.
Mr. PATMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee on Veterans Affairs, it is a great pleasure, high honor, and privilege for me to appear before you this morning in support of the GI bill for cold war
May I say, Mr. Chairman, that the first service I had in Congress when I came here 31 years ago was as a member of this very important committee. I served on this committee for a number of years.
I was chairman of the Hospitalization and Guardianship Committee and I well recall that, while I served as chairman of that committee, in that particular Congress, Mrs. Rogers served as the ranking minority member. That was the second Congress of Mr. Hoover's administration and we had some important investigations; we introduced many bills and by reason of the introduction of those bills, laws were written concerning guardianships and I don't think it has ever been necessary to improve on them.
We are very proud of them. I spent most of my time in my first few years of service in the Congress with this committee and I am: very proud of it. Of the committees of Congress, it is one of the most important.
Mr. Haley. Your work still remains to be seen in many of the laws. Mr. PATMAN. Thank you, sir. Those veterans are the forgotten men in our defense program. While others are taken care of in a proper, generous way, the cold war veterans are trapped. Mr. Chairman, I feel that morale in the armed services is very important. I know every member of this committee agrees with me on that and I just wonder if we can expect the highest type of service, and the best morale among our servicemen who enter the services under the conditions of Selective Service with the feeling that they are not appreciated to the extent that they are not getting the benefits that other servicemen received before them. So I feel that the question of morale enters into this bill, too.
My bill, H.R. 5319, a companion bill to S. 1138 as originally introduced, is under study by this committee along with other bills to establish a GI bill for cold war veterans. My appearance here this morning, however, is on behalf of the cold war veterans themselves and on behalf of the basic principle involved rather than in connection with specific details of a particular bill. In fact, my request is, Mr. Chairman, that you take up Senator Yarborough's bill. It has already passed the Senate and I think it would be in the interest of expediting the legislation to consider his bill and get it passed in the House rather than to act on a House bill. I would recommend that his bill be considered for that reason.
Furthermore, Senator Yarborough has done more work on this, I think, than any other Member of Congress and I think he would be entitled to have his bill considered; at least, it would be my preference that it would be.
The post-Korean veterans population stood at 687,000 on December 31, 1958. By July 1, 1963, the termination date on eligibility under the pending legislation, almost 414 million post-Korean veterans will have been separated from the Military Establishment. Texas citizens account for approximately 213,000 of this total. But I am not appearing here just for them, because young men and their families from every State in the Union have a vital stake in this legislation.
Although the veterans' readjustment rights were cut off by Presidential order on January 31, 1955, the compulsory draft law is still in effect-causing thousands of young men to give 2 or more years of their lives to the performance of active military duty.
Because the draft law is in effect, and because these young people are forced to perform national service for all, directly or indirectly by that law, we should provide a program of educational and other readjustment assistance for those who do serve.
Today's draft does not work like the hot war draft. Almost everybody goes into military service during the hot war. But under the present draft, only about 45 percent of the draft-age youth perform a substantial tour of military duty.
Furthermore, today's draft does not take fathers or men over 26 years of age. It does not take college students; either undergraduate or graduate work in college entitles a student to draft deferment.
All of these conditions have combined to create a most inequitable situation, wherein the minority who are required to serve have been rel
egated from an economic standpoint to the status of second-class citizens. This has been brought about because of the fact that the compulsory draft law, in many respects, has more vicious application during a period of relative peace than during a period of armed conflict.
Frequently we overlook the fact that an unsatisfied military obligation is a black mark on the application form of young men seeking work in today's labor market. In time of war, there are labor shortages, and employers take all the men they can get. The fact that a particular man might still be subject to the draft does not deter the employer from hiring him and getting whatever length of service he has to offer.
Today, however, and for several years, in fact, the existence of a rather plentiful labor supply makes the unsatisfied military obligation a matter of crucial importance. Employers generally are not willing to invest time and money in training men who might be taken away at any time by the draft law. As a consequence, the draft-age youth, not having prior work experience, and therefore no entitlement to unemployment compensation, is forced to enter the military service; he becomes a captive for all practical purposes.
The net result is that one of the most valuable parts of the free enterprise system has been destroyed for the draft-age youth. It is no longer possible for a young man, just out of high school, to work for a year or two, save money, and then go to college or enter a vocational school to learn a trade. This traditional way of getting training beyond the 'high school level, although used by thousands upon thousands of our best citizens in the past, is being denied the present generation of young people, causing them untold harm as individuals, as well as serious future damage to our economy as a whole.
The fact that this fine tradition has been destroyed is evidenced by the fact that young men just out of high school, that is, from 17 to 1812 years of age, constitute about half or all first-time enlistments each year. In 1958, for example, there were approximately 1,200,000 young men entering the age group 17 to 1812. Of this number, approximately 250,000-nearly one-fourth of the totalvoluntarily entered military service. The plain fact of the matter is that they had no choice but to enter service for by and large they could not find productive employment because of the compulsory draft law.
When they come out of service, they find that their economic handicap has not weakened its grip and that the mere act of voluntarily entering service did not minimize the adverse, long-range effects of losing time from civil life. They find instead that during their military service they dropped further and further behind their contemporaries who stayed behind in civilian life pursuing educational goals, or enjoying other advantages of civil life. Many young men in their age group got married and because fathers, thus excusing them from the draft forever, and also enabling them to find work with employers who knew that the draft obligation, being eliminated by the fatherhood status, would not cause a turnover in personnel.
These inequities are still further aggravated by the Reserve obligation which the Government has imposed on all men who entered service after August 9, 1955. Because of the reserve obligation, which of course is in sharp contrast with the traditional military obligation ending immediately upon discharge from active duty, the cold war veterans must attend drills and engage in other military activities after return to civil life, while their civilian contemporaries, who never did serve, have full freedom to use all their time toward advancement in their chosen civilian careers.
Thus, the Active Reserve obligation impedes the cold war veterans? full participation in civil life, again subjecting them to unfair competition from their contemporaries who remain in civil life from the very beginning.
In short, then, the cold war veteran who must sacrifice 2 years or more of his life for the military protection of all, is damaged just as much as the man whose time was taken during a period of war or armed conflict. In a free enterprise system, such as ours, the practical effect of the draft law is that one man is held back from pursuit of a civilian career, while his competitor who does not go to service speeds ahead toward winning the fruits of our free
STUDENT LOANS INADEQUATE
It has been alleged in these hearings that the student loan program of the National Defense Education Act adequately serves the educational needs of the cold war veterans and in consequence that the cold war GI bill is not necessary. This simply is not true. The briefest analysis of the student loan program will show beyond any doubt that the student loan program does not help the cold war veterans and that it has probably been raised in these hearings to conceal the vital need for this legislation.
First, we should remember that generally a person must be actually enrolled in college before he can qualify for an NDEA student loan. Obviously, therefore, the potential recipient of the loan must find from some source the basic tuition and enrollment fees needed to get into college, before he is even in a position to apply for a loan. This means that the student must find from $500 to $1,000 before the NDEA loan is of any help to him. Such sums of money are not likely to be available to the cold war veteran who generally is in the lower three pay grades, where the pay scales are inadequate to permit savings of this kind, and who, as you know, does not receive any mustering out pay upon separation from service.
So at the very outset we find the cold war veteran seriously handicapped under the student loan program, in that he must find a fairly large financial stake before he can even apply for the loan.
Additionally, it is not realistic to expect very many of these returning servicemen to obligate themselves for educational loans. When these men come out of service, with no mustering out pay and very little money in their pockets, they will not be in a position to obtain a loan of from $1,000 to $5,000 to further their education. Men with business experience, and more general knowledge of the ways of the world, might see why these young men should make an educational loan despite their depressed economic circumstances. However, these young men do not have that kind of experience, and most of them will regard the loan as foolhardy and too risky to undertake.