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Now, gentlemen, we have a quorum of the whole committee present. There are two bills with which Subcommittee No. 1 recommended unanimously to the whole committee on Thursday last. We must take these opportunities with the full committee present to get them out. I know they meet with the approval of the chairman.,
Therefore I shall turn the gavel over to Mr. Potts and recess this subcommittee meeting for 5 minutes or more in order that the full committee may act upon these two bills we considered on Friday.
We will recess for approximately 5 minutes. (Recess taken.)
Mr. BRADLEY of California. The subcommittee will come to order again. Gentlemen, this subcommittee meeting will recess at 11:30. At that time we will take up these two bills I mentioned in executive session. If you gentlemen do not wish to remain for all of this hearing we would like to have enough of you back at 11:30 to have a quorum to act upon the other bill. It was deemed better after discussion, to take up these matters in executive session rather than in open meeting since they have already been heard.
Are there other Members of Congress who wish to be heard on H. R. 476?
(No response.) Mr. BRADLEY of California. Does any member of the committee wish to be heard ?
Mr. BRADLEY of California. The next witness is Mr. McCandless, assistant to the Maritime Commission.
STATEMENT OF JAMES V. MCCANDLESS, ASSISTANT TO THE
Mr. McCANDLESS. At this time, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, we would like merely to offer ourselves as available for any questions that the committee may wish to ask and to reserve the privilege of filing a report in the near future when the presently constituted Maritime Commission may have an opportunity to review the bill. It so happens that the constitution of the Commission at the present time is entirely different from what it was when H. R. 2348 was previously considered.
Mr. BRADLEY of California. One may say the same, Mr. McCandless, about the committee.
Mr. McCANDLESS. I see a few familiar faces.
Mr. LATHAM. You mean the Commission is not taking a position on this bill at all?
Mr. McCANDLESS. I am sure they will take a very definite position on it. But until such time as it can be thoroughly considered, I am sure they would rather we not make any statement for the Commission itself.
Mr. BONNER. At present the committee has not filed a report on the bill.
Mr. McCANDLESS. That is right. We wish to do so in the near future.
Mr. BONNER. Have you received a request ?
Mr. McCANDLESS. We received a request which I believe came to us on the 10th or 11th.
Mr. WEICHEL. You are speaking in behalf of the Commission. Do you expect to review the bill and make a statement paragraph by paragraph of the discussion?
Mr. McCANDLESS. Yes. We will be delighted to furnish a complete report on the bill.
Mr. WEICHEL. Paragraph by paragraph?
Mr. WEICHEL. Not just an over-all story or speech? I mean we want to be able to examine it and know what we are expected to do and not be expected to do. That is what I mean.
Mr. McCANDLESS. Yes.
Mr. BRADLEY of California. May I say for your information that I realize this meeting has been called very early in the game.
It is so called because of the fact that our chairman, Mr. Fred Bradley, and Judge Bland made definite promises it would be called almost immediately after the convening of the present session. That is the reason we are meeting before all the data is prepared. I believe the meetings will be considerably extended while this data is being prepared.
Does anyone of the members desire to question Mr. McCandless while he is on the stand?
Mr. KEOGH. Any question you would be asked today would be your personal opinion? You would not be reflecting the opinion of the Commission?
Mr. McCANDLESS. That is right, Mr. Keogh.
Mr. BONNER. It would be difficult to consider the testimony of other witnesses before knowing what the position of the Maritime Commission would be with respect to this bill, Mr. Chairman. That would be my personal feeling.
Mr. BRADLEY of California. I do not believe we will be able to go very far before we get the report of the Maritime Commission.
Mr. BONNER. The present witness could not express a view of the Maritime Commission, as Mr. Keogh has developed. What good will his testimony be?
Mr. BRADLEY of California. We have other representatives who may have some definite testimony, like the Social Security, and all that. We can hear them if they are ready, at least up until 11:30.
Mr. Potts. Do you have any idea when the report might be forthcoming or when the Commission will have studied it sufficiently to enable them to come to a conclusion or a position on this legislature!
Mr. McCANDLESS. I think it would be at an early date, Mr. Potts.
Mr. McCANDLESS. It may be much shorter than a month. We will try to get it in at the earliest possible time.
Mr. POTTS. I have in mind that is a major consideration in determining subsequent hearings on this bill. If we can have a pretty good idea of what time we can expect a report from the Maritime Commission it will enable the chairman to fix dates for subsequent meetings.
Mr. McCANDLESS. I should say 3 weeks to a month at the very outside, if not before.
Mr. BROPHY. Mr. Chairman, I am going to move now that we recess until such time as the Maritime Commission has prepared this report so that we will all be familiar with the information previous to any action we may take on the bill before us.
Mr. LATHAM. I don't see any reason why we could not hear any of the other gentlemen who have come some distance to speak here today.
Mr. BRADLEY of California. I hear no second to the motion.
Mr. WEICHTEL. I would like to amend it if I may, and state I would like to adjourn this hearing until the call of the Chair. At any time he sees fit we may go
ahead. Mr. BROPHY. I will accept the amendment.
Mr. LATHAM. Could you tell the committee who is here to speak this morning in addition to the gentleman who is now before us, Mr. Chairman?
Mr. BRADLEY of California. The amendment has not been seconded.
Is there any second to this motion to adjourn subject to the call of the Chair?
Mr. WEICHEL. I might say this: Take those who are here if there is anything you can hear today up until the time you will consider these matters in executive session.
Mr. BRADLEY of California. The motion was made and seconded-
Mr. KEOGH. May I make a suggestion to table the motion until we reach 11:30 and then decide what we will do with these hearings?
Mr. BRADLEY of California. Is that agreeable?
Mr. BRADLEY of California. The motion will be disregarded. We will not table it because it was not seconded.
Do you wish to ask anỳ questions of the witness?
Mr. ALLEN. Mr. McCandless, are you familiar with H. R. 2346 and also this new H. R. 476?
Mr. McCANDLESS. Yes.
Mr. ALLEN. So you can tell us if they are identical or what changes there are?
Mr. McCANDLESS. Yes. H. R. 2346 was a very inclusive bill. It included all of the provisions that are in 476 together with loan provisions and some other items. This bill, during the consideration by the committee after the hearings, was shortened to delete a number of the provisions of H. R. 2346 and leave it with the hospital and disability benefits, education, reemployment rights which now apparently are no longer necessary in this bill because they were covered by Public Laws 660 and 692 of the last Congress, and the compensation provision and the hospital benefits under the Public Health Service. The provisions presently in the bill extend slightly the Public Healtk Service available to merchant seamen. They presently are covered so long as they remain a part of the merchant marine and do not engage or abandon the merchant marine for a period of 90 days.
This bill will mainly provide hospitalization for latent injuries or disabilities which do not manifest themselves for a substantial length of time. The other main purposes of the bill, besides the
educational provisions, is to place merchant seamen of World War II within the terms of the United States Employees Compensation Act. Members of the merchant marine on vessels owned or operated by the Government during the First World War were covered under the United States Employees Compensation Act. As a matter of law they were also covered during the Second World War up until the passage of Public Law 17 in 1943.
The reason that that bill was passed, or one of the reasons it was passed, was that at that time, or at the time the bill was introduced, the Government had not pre-empted the whole field of the American merchant marine, some of the vessels being operated under time charter or for private account. Therefore, merchant seamen, in view of his type of employment, on one voyage would be on a public vessel where he would be a Federal employee, the next voyage he may be on a private vessel whereby he would not be under the Federal Employees Compensation Act, and that provision of Public Law 17 removed them from the status of Federal employees for the purpose, among others, of the Compensation Act.
This bill restores the rights which they would have had except for Public Law 17 and also—that is those employees who worked on Government-owned or Government-operated vessels—and also brings within Federal Employees Compensation Act provisions those seamen who were sailing on privately owned and operated vessels but, nevertheless, in the service of the Government and under the Government's control. Since they were all employed in the common effort there appears to be no justification for distinction between them.
Mr. WEICHEL. Wasn't there some reason for that removal, because of the special request with reference to wages and all that sort of thing? They asked to be removed in the first instance. There was something else back of it. The idea was not to give these wages and special bonuses and then give all these other benefits. There was something else back of it. I would like to have that explained at some future time.
Mr. McCANDLESS. I would be glad to see that is included in the report, Mr. Weichel.
Mr. WEICHEL. Is there not something to that, something with reference to it? They asked to be removed and made that request saying, “We do not want to be in the armed forces and under the control of the Army and Navy. We want high wages and want to be removed from this and that," and now they come back and want it. Is there not something to that?
Mr. McCANDLESS. I would not follow it as you stated it, Mr. Weichel. I would state it in this manner: I am informed here was some discussion of incorprating the merchant marine into the armed forces, somewhat in the same nature the Coast Guard is embraced within the armed forces in time of war by being transferred from the Treasury Department to the Navy. I am informed that among other reasons they preferred not to be included within the armed forces, but to retain their civilian status
Mr. WEICHEL. One of the reasons was with reference to the payment in the armed forces of $50 a month for the lowest rank on this side and $60 overseas. That was one of the reasons, was it not?
Mr. McCANDLESS. There may have been some contemplation of it, but I think the monetary wage that is received by a person must be
distinguished from the real wage they may receive in kind as opposed to cash. The cash income of the merchant seamen was, in most part, larger in number of dollars received per month of employment.
Mr. WEICHEL. The Maritime Commission put in a statement here the last time that the average pay of the lowest ranking person was $2,500 a year.
Mr. McCANDLESS. That may well be. But the real benefits received by members of the armed forces in many cases exceeded that.
Mr. WEICHEL. I mean the lowest rank. A private of the Army got more than $2,500 a year in benefits.
Mr. McCANDLESS. I think at times you may find his real income exceed the value of $2,500 a year.
Mr. WEICHEL. I would like to have that put in the record where you find that the private in the Army or the seaman in the Navy had an income of more than $2,500 a year.
Mr. McCANDLESS. It must be distinguished.
Mr. WEICHEL. I am talking about the individual and not one with dependants. I am talking with reference to the individual. You are talking about added dependency. I mean leaving off dependency. That is not income to him. Leaving off dependency it is not true, is it?
Mr. McCANDLESS. No. But a man who receives $100 a month for his dependents is receiving as much real income as though he had received $100 in cash and then gave it to his dependents.
Mr. WEICHEL. Yes. Are you going to make a comparison of the private in the Army with nine children as against the merchant seaman with no dependents and the private in the Army with no dependents and the
one in the merchant marine with with no dependents ? I want you to compare like with like.
Mr. McCANDLESS. I think where you have as large numbers as are involved in both the merchant marine and the armed forces you are doing an injustice to one or the other by singling out a specific example without getting an over-all picture of what may have been a relatively average situation.
Mr. WEICHEL. Then with reference to this payment of money which you do not consider anything, in other words, lowest rank in merchant marine and the lowest rank in the Army and the lowest rank in the Navy, there would be no objection if you just pay in accord with similar status. If you give them the same and not more, that would be all right, would it not? You want to give these merchant seamen with equal rank the same benefits in money. That would be all right, would it not?
Mr. McCANDLESS. If they are accorded equal treatment, I think that would be a matter that this bill would in part accomplish.
Mr. WEICHEL. Yes. But this bill as it now stands recommends unequal treatment. It gives the people who are outside of the armed forces more money in benefits than those who were in the armed forces, person per person with equal rank.
Mr. McCANDLESS. I think you will find the record does not support you, Mr. Weichel.
Mr. WEICHEL. Outside of what the Maritime Commission put in the record here before that is what we have to go on.
Mr. McCANDLESS. I also wish to make clear that my concept of dollars is not to be considered, in my opinion, as meaning nothing.