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Vocational training ending date extension; Resolution 526, New York, 1952
Resolved, That we seek legislation to amend Public Law 16, 78th Congress, so that the termination date for the completion of training programs shall be extended beyond July 25, 1956, in order that service-connected disabled veterans may have full opportunity for vocational rehabilitation, the amendatory legislation to provide that the termination of their entitlement be the termination date of their training. Subsistence allowance automatic reduction; Resolution 22, NEC, October 1952
Resolved, That existing law be amended to provide in substance that the reduction in subsistence in the case of GI farm trainees shall not begin until the end of the first crop year or animal cycle (12 months).
CLAIMS AND RATINGS
Burial allowance; Resolution 514, New York, 1952
Resolved, That we initiate amendatory legislation so that the present $150 VA allowance shall be for funeral expenses only and that the Government provide a further sum of $75 to be used exclusively toward the interment expenses of deceased veterans. Compensation for service-connected disability; Resolution 190, New York, 1952
Resolved, That we seek legislation which will remove the inequity created by the enactment of Public Law 356, 82d Congress, so that all degrees of serviceconnected compensation be increased by the same percentage. Compensation for disability, retroactive award of additional; Resolution 421,
New York, 1952 Resolred, That we seek amendatory legislation to permit retroactive awards of additional disability compensation for dependents, providing documentary evidence in support of the dependency claim is or was received within 1 year from date of VA request. Misconduct; Resolution 118, New York, 1952
Resolved, That we seek legislation clarifying the term “misconduct" and eliminating restrictions on payment of disability pension except in those cases where there was proved malicious or deliberate misconduct. Presumptive service connection for multiple sclerosis; Resolution 90, New York,
1952 Resolved, That we seek legislation that would provide a 3-year presumptive period of service connection for multiple sclerosis. Service connection for psychoses and TB; Resolution 97, New York, 1952
Resolved, That we sponsor legislation to provide for service connection as chronic diseases of the chronic psychoses and nonpulmonary forms of active tuberculosis upon manifestation to a compensable degree within 3 years after separation from active service in wartime claims. Reservists' benefits be equalized; Resolution 337, New York, 1952
Resolved, That we seek enactment of legislation to bring about an equalization of benefits for veterans and their dependents under laws administered by the United States Veterans Administration and the United States Bureau of Employees' Compensation in the cases of certain enlisted and commissioned reservists of services of the Armed Forces. VA benefits to veterans residing in foreign countries; Resolution 601, New York,
1952 Resolved, That we seek amendatory legislation to overcome Veterans' Administration instructions relating to sections 4 and 5, Public Law 144, 78th Congress. Widous and orphans, parity for all; Resolution 268, New York, 1952
Resolved, That an identical basis for award of pension to surviving widows and orphans of World War II and Korean service be established as now afforded World War I survivors. Disability pension awarded under Public Law 149; Resolution 562, New York,
Resolved, That we seek a more favorable interpretation of Public Law 149, 82d Congress; and, failing in this, then we request the Congress to amend the law by making the necessary changes in its wording that would clearly define the meaning and intent thereof in order to give to veterans who need the regular aid and attendance of another person increased benefits. Disability pension increase; Resolution 96, New York, 1952
Resolved, That we seek legislation to increase the present $63 and $75 monthly disability pension awards under Veterans Regulation 1 (a), part III, to $75 and $90, respectively. Disability pension, recognize dependency of parents; Resolution 513, New York,
1952 Resolved, That the Congress be requested to immediately amend the present law to include any person with dependent parents or parent among those entitled to the higher income in determining eligibility to disability pension under Veterans Regulation 1 (a), part III. Disability pension for tuberculosis; Resolution 450, New York, 1952
Resolved, That we seek amendatory legislation so that disability pension under Veterans Regulation 1 (a), part III, shall be payable to all veterans having active tuberculosis, providing their incomes do not exceed the statutory limitation. Disability pension for permanent and total cases after an aggregate of 10 years;
Resolution 548, New York, 1952 Resolved, That Public Law 313, 78th Congress, be amended to strike out the word "continuous” from paragraph 1 (f), part III, Veterans Regulation No. 1 (a), as amended, so that the higher pension rate will be granted where a veteran has been rated permanent and total for an aggregate of 10 years. Oppose Hoover report legislation affecting Teterans' Administration ; Resolution
21, New York, 1952 Resolved, That we most earnestly petition the Congress of the United States to disapprove any legislation based upon the Hoover report which would in any wise affect the proper administration of veterans' rights under the supervision and control of the Veterans' Administration as it now exists.
Mr. Gougi. First of all, as a rather preliminary statement, I should like to say that the House of Representatives in establishing this committee has performed a positive action to give a specialized and continuous attention to the manner in which the program of veterans' benefits and services is administered and handled by the Federal Government. I voice not only my personal opinion but the official opinion of the American Legion in saying that the conduct of the business of this committee in the past has justified the farsightedness, the confidence, and the good judgment of Congress in establishing the committee and you have done much by your past actions to serve not only the veterans but the Nation as well.
I should like to express, if I may, admiration and respect for Madam Chairman. We of the American Legion have had the opportunity and the pleasure of working with her in the past. We are cognizant of the fact that she has a rich experience because of the study and consideration she has given in the past to problems pertaining to veterans' benefits and services.
We should like to express appreciation, also, to the former members of the committee who helped, along with the chairman, to create the program of benefits and services. Your experience has been invaluable in the mutual program of service to veterans as administered by the Federal Government.
If I may, I should like to express a welcome to the new members and to tell you that the objective of the American Legion--and I am speaking this morning for the 4,000,000 members of the American Legion and its auxiliaries have been, are the same now, and are in
concurrence with your objectives, I am sure; and that is that we want to find every means possible to increase the efficiency and to further the economy in the program of benefits and services as administered. We believe we must have a positive course of action.
There has been criticism and a deterioration of confidence so far as the public is concerned and certain segments of Congress, more or less in the executive branch of government, on matters pertaining to veterans' affairs. We have had campaigns and investigations conducted against the manner in which the affairs have been conducted in the Federal Government in this program. We have all had the opportunity to study these surveys, to study the results; and some new legislation has emanated.
No investigating group, however, found any major compromise with the laws of Congress which provide for the benefits and services. Therefore, we do believe the time is here for a positive attitude. We are committed to the principle that the cost of veterans' benefits and services is a direct, although a delayed, cost of war and that the cost has not increased disproportionately with the increased cost of living, the increased cost of war, and the national income.
Veterans do not start wars. They fight them. Those who criticize the costs must realize that their right and their prerogative to criticize is preserved by veterans in war.
We believe that the Veterans Administration can be improved. In every office of the Veterans' Administration there is a representative of The American Legion. We are constantly making suggestions for improvement, as we are never satisfied.
We have studied the adverse reports relative to the Veterans' Administration, and we have presented Congress with the results of our thinking. We are aware and alert to the fact that bills have already been presented to the 83d Congress which, in our opinion, would dismember the Veterans' Administration; and, as in the past, we oppose these bills; and we shall present our specific opposition at the
I should like to refer to the proposed reorganization of the Veterans' Administration, the plan as presented by the Administrator of the Veterans' Administration. We believe that there are positive recommendations here and there is much to recommend this proposed reorganization, but we do feel it has been entirely too long delayed in being presented. However, now that it has been presented, it is in line with our ideas of positive action. It can operate administratively under the authority already established by Congress, within the existing framework of the Veterans' Administration, and economically will not be disruptive, requiring the tearing down of old agencies and the creating of new, which is neither economy nor efficiency.
We urge that this committee give the greatest consideration to the administrative recommendations to the Administrator of the Veterans' Administration. While we disagree, of course, with some details, and we want to study the entire plan further, in general we give it our approval. We feel it does provide the proper relationship between staff and operational functions.
Many of the things the plan recommends have been championed by the American Legion over a period of years. If the plan is given
authority, we do hope there will be a holiday, and further legislative and administrative proposals will not be made, in order to give the reorganization plan the opportunity to prove itself, to prove its effectiveness, and to have a chance of success.
Experience has shown us that there is a record of errors in the location and the number of certain types of Veterans Administration hospitals. This recent issue of Collier's, on February 14, documents some of these errors. I have checked with members of my rehabilitation staff, and they have stated that the facts, in their opinion, are materially correct.
We believe that there is a need for a Federal Board of Hospitalization with the authority to prevent a repetition of this problem. We would oppose, however, that this agency should ever become a superagency exercising control over the administration of the Department of Medicine and Surgery in the Veterans Administration.
We believe that the veterans' program should be stabilized. The cost of the benefits and services to the veterans has declined 38 percent since 1947, and this is in a period of growing veteran population and a higher cost of living. We urge a stabilized plan of operation be granted the Veterans' Administration by Congress. We particularly urge that the nonprofessional control of the administration of the Department of Medicine and Surgery by the Bureau of the Budget be removed.
We believe it is imperative that the Veterans' Administration be provided with adequate funds, particularly to operate the beds that are already provided. No agency can provide a full measure of service if it is constantly beset by reductions in force and threats of reductions in force. This, of course, would mean insecurity, and it would mean unstable conditions and lack of confidence in the future.
Our program of legislation is presented to cover authorization of Federal benefits. Really there is nothing new in it. It will liberalize the basis for service connection of certain chronic diseases, adjust certain disability compensation and pension rates, establish parity for the award of death pensions to widows and orphans of World Wars I and II and Korea.
Our resolutions covering this legislation are filed with your committee.
First, the reorganization plan of the Veterans Administration deserves attention, and if approved we urge it be given the opportunity to prove its worth with a holiday to contrary legislative reorganization plans.
Second, a stabilized program for the Medicine and Surgery Department of the Veterans' Administration is long overdue. It is inconsistent that the Bureau of the Budget should be the nonprofessional dominating control of a professional program of medicine and surgery.
Third, a Federal Board of Hospitalization should be established to state where and the number and type of hospitals the Veterans' Administration and other Government agencies should have.
Fourth, a realistic appraisal of the methods for stabilizing employment of the Veterans Administration should be made. Fifth, if specific programs or specific employees do not live
to the promise of performance we recommend that they be reexamined specifically, using a telescopic lense type of approach rather than the mortar, to remove the attitude of distrust and suspicion and to replace this with confidence and security.
Sixth, it is basic to us that the veteran is a special class. He has earned special distinction of being a veteran during armed conflict in military service, and the title of veteran is a conferred badge of honor. It denotes and connotes that a man or woman has presented himself and offered all to defend home and country.
Eighth, we ask that funds necessary to operate the benefit and services program be provided by Congress. This means that we need a restoration of funds for an adequate program, particularly to operate the hospitals that are constructed.
There are over 20,000 applications which have been certified for veterans' hospitals, but the applicants cannot be admitted because the beds are not available. In the sense that there are not the facilities or the personnel to staff them, there are 10,000 beds unavailable for this reason. We consider this to be false economy.
The problem is one which will become more acute with the rotation out of service of 100,000 veterans each month-over 1 million this year—from the Korean war. Already 4,000 Korean veterans are in hospitals.
I have members of my staff here this morning. I know that they will be more than happy to answer questions along with me and to provide any assistance that they can in the days ahead. I say with pride and with a degree of prejudice, of course, that I believe we have a staff of experts, with 34 years of experience in the field of rehabilitation. This field is the guiding principle of the American Legion, the primary reason for our existence.
I should like to present some of the members of our staff to you: Mr.T.O. Kraabel, who heads our rehabilitation division; Mr. Stevens, assistant director; Dr. Shapiro, senior medical consultant; Mr. Olson, assistant director of legislation.
It is a pleasure to present this statement to you, and I will be more than happy to endeavor to answer any questions you may have.
The CHAIRMAN. That is a very fine statement, Mr. Commander. Mr. Gough. Thank you, Madam Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I am delighted you could come today and present your program early, in order that it may go out all over the country.
Mr. GOUGH. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. I think we have a battle to hold what you have secured for the veterans.
Mr. Gough. We are alert and vigilant. The CHAIRMAN. I know that. I hear that everywhere. I hear what a wonderful commander
you are. Mr. GOUGH. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. I should like to say for myself and I know for the members of the committee—who will speak for themselves, undoubtedly—that we have a feeling of gratitude to your very able staff here in Washington. I have watched them for 34 years, and I can testify to their ability and their willingness. They do not ask for things which are too much to expect.
Do the members of the committee have any questions?
Mr. Mack. I have just one question along the line the commander mentioned.