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Senator Cutting. I can see that the fact that they are younger will mean that there will be, on the whole, a smaller percentage of permanent disability; but take the case of two men who have been, respectively, in the Spanish-American War and the World War, and who have the same percentage of disability. I can not quite see what their
age or the fact that one was in one war and the other in another, has to do with it.
General Hines. I think that the younger man has a better chance than the older man.
Senator CUTTING. Even though he has the same percentage of disability?
General Hines. Even though he has the same amount of disability.
Senator Bingham. Senator Couzens brought out this morning, when you were not here, the fact that the chances of the man who is 35 or 40 per cent disabled, of getting a job, for instance, are very much greater if he is 10 years younger than the other man.
After all, you have to take this ng on averages.
That which we did for the Spanish-American veterans when they were 22 years out of the war would be a very fair thing to do for the World War veterans who are 11 or 12 years out of the war.
Senator COUZENS also brought out the fact that in 1920, when we did that for the Spanish-American War veterans, commodity prices were far higher, and the $30 that we allowed them at that time did not go nearly as far as $30 will go at the present time, so that actually we are giving the World War veterans a larger pension at the present time, 12 years after the war, than we gave the Spanish-American War veterans 22 years after
Senator CONNALLY. Everybody knows, though, that you did not give the Spanish-American War veterans enough when you did that.
Senator WATSON. Are there any other questions of General Hines? If not, we are very much obliged to you.
(The tables referred to above are here printed in full, as follows:)
Estimated 5-year cost of H. R. 13174, as submitted by United States Veterans' Estimated 5-year cost of H. R. 13174, as submitted by United States Veterans'
6 Relief of disbursing off
cers 9 Uniforms for personnel
Washington, D. C. 10 Assembling War
Department records .. 11 Disability allowance for
veterans suffering with
veterans on rolls.. 12 Minimum allowance of
$20 for dependent
mother and father 12 i Flags to drape caskets..
55, 289, 000 68, 649, 000 74, 404, 000
80, 570, 000 304, 193, 000
6,000 40, 250
6,000 43, 000
6. 000 49,000
30, 000 228, 250
13 Extra $25 allowance for
persons suffering the
amputation cases only). $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $5,000,000 14 | Minimum rating of 25
per cent for arrested
8,000 40,000 Administrative cost. 2,000,000 2,000,000 1,500,000 1,000,000 500,000 7,000,000 Total.
31, 555, 050 58, 346, 900 71, 208, 900 76, 467, 900 82, 135, 900 319, 714, 650 Saving: Discontinuance
of compensation to dis-
7, 558, 452 7, 558, 452 7, 558, 452 7, 558, 452 30, 233, 808 Total.
31, 555, 05050, 788, 448 63, 650, 448 68,909, 448 74,577, 448 289, 480, 842
NOTE.-It must be remembered that the effect of the provision in sec. 210 will not reduce the annual cost of this bill. It only avoids necessity for making an additional appropriation of approximately $25,000,000.
Estimated cost of pensions to World War veterans, based upon the esti mated number
adjudicated each year
Permanent cases only (excluding less than 90-day men) at rate provided for Spanish
War veterans by act of June 2, 1930
(Payments start with 10 per cent)
Permanent cases only (excluding less than 90-day men, at rate provided for Spanish
War veterans by act of June 5, 1930
(Payments start with 10 per cent)
Permanent cases, modified by exclusion of 90-day men and enlistments after November
11, 1918-Cases disabled to a 25 per cent degree or more
Estimated pected to annual cost be adjudi- range, $20-$60; cated each
average, $35 year
1931. 1932 1933. 1934. 1935.
156, 056 289, 273 327, 335 350, 173 380, 622
$19, 157, 640 107, 506, 875 133, 481, 190 144, 674,670 156, 664, 095
Senator WATSON. Mr. John Thomas Taylor, will you take the stand, please?
STATEMENT OF JOHN THOMAS TAYLOR IN BEHALF OF THE
Senator WATSON. Mr. Taylor, do you desire to make a statement?
Mr. TAYLOR. I would like to make a statement. I would like to read a telegram from the national commander of the American Legion relative to this legislation. I received it this morning.
INDIANAPOLIS, IND., June 27, 1930. JOHN THOMAS TAYLOR,
Washington, D. C. Press reports that the House has sustained presidential veto of H. R. 10381 by vote of 188 to 181, and that House has passed new bill for disabled men by vote of 365 to 4. Am informed that this new bill contains some 37 amendments which include practically all of those contained in the original House bill. Our request for the extension of time in which to bring suits on insurance claims is not met by the new bill nor is the comptroller taken out of the bureau as we requested. Request that you suggest to the Senate committee having charge of this legislation that these two changes be made.
The proposed amendment to section 200 is a departure from the established policy of the legion, and I am therefore in no position to comment thereupon. The legion presented and urged its proposed amendment to section 200 to the House committee and to the House itself and to the Senate Finance Committee, but after due consideration the House has selected this new method of disability compensation in preference to the legion proposal. The press has carried the news constantly that this was done with the approval of the President. Under these circumstances, it is fair to assume that this legislation has his indorsement and that he will sign the bill. Undoubtedly this legislation will benefit thousands of disabled veterans whose disabilities have not been proved service-connected under existing law, but many of whom are entitled to the benefit of the doubt. Senate Finance Committee will doubtless hold immediate hearings on this bill. I request that you speak for me and assure them of our appreciation of their interest in this disabled legislation and urge them to report out immediately the bill with amendments suggested above, thus making possible the speedy enactment of this legislation into law. Am sure that veterans and the American people as a whole will be happy to see this immediate relief for our disabled. The legion is unselfish and sincere in its desire for speedy action. Regards.
0. L. BODENHAMER, National Commander. I will start where General Hines was finishing, on the question of the immediate consideration of the bill, and its early passage. I think that is the thing that is of paramount importance, to get this legislation on the statute books. It is true that of the amendments suggested in the bill which was passed by the Senate, 77 of them are included in this bill. I shall confine myself to the suggestions of the commander unless the committee asks me some other questions.
First, as to the comptroller, the general has pointed out-
The general has pointed out that to a very great extent the manner in which this bill is treated by the bureau depends upon his liberal interpretation of it. I think that was brought out in response to Senator Steiwer's questions just a moment ago.
I was before this committee when the previous bill was being considered, and I urged then that the comptroller be taken out of the bureau. When I say "taken out of the bureau” I mean so far as medical decisions and legal decisions are concerned. We care nothing about his auditing function. But the very liberal treatment that the general apparently intends to give to this legislation can very easily be set aside by the comptroller. There is no question about that. It is up to the comptroller, in the final analysis, to pass upon the very things that the General states he is going to construe in such a very liberal manner.
In fact, going back to the question of lay evidence, it is up to the comptroller to pass upon the sufficiency, even, of that lay evidence. So, unless the comptroller is taken out of the bureau, we are going to continue to have the difficulties that we have with the present law, even on the submission of lay evidence. We are going to have the same difficulties as are encountered in the administration of the present law. In my judgment it will defeat the very purpose of the legislation.
Senator Walsh of Massachusetts. Has the comptroller authority over the interpretation of the Spanish-American pension law?
Mr. Taylor. I do not know whether he has or not.
Senator Walsh of Massachusetts. In connection with serviceconnected cases; yes.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. And he is given the power under the pending bill?
Senator Walsh of Massachusetts. Yes. There is no change in that.
Mr. TAYLOR. In our law? He is given that power in the World War veterans' act.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. Certainly; and he is given power under the bill now pending before us.
Mr. TAYLOR. Yes, sir.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. Your theory is that he should not have that power.
Mr. Taylor. That is right.
Senator BingHAM. In other words, Colonel Taylor, one of the matters we were discussing a few minutes ago was the matter of what classification a man should be put in.
Mr. TAYLOR. That is just one of the points.
Senator BINGHAM. If the comptroller sent for the doctors and said, “Now, what disability rating did you give this man? What was his percentage”? And the doctors said 38 per cent, the comptroller might then rule that “That is not 50 per cent. You can not give him 50 per cent. You have to give him the next rating below.''
Mr. Taylor. He might say to the doctor, “On what basis did you do that''?
Senator BINGHAM. If the man's rating was 19 per cent, and the bureau had given him 25 per cent, the comptroller could rule that since it was only 19 per cent he could not get 25 per cent.
Mr. TAYLOR. Absolutely. That is the attitude of the comptroller to-day on veterans' legislation.
Senator Watson. Has he interferred?
Senator Watson. I understand; but I want you to put that statement in the record.
Mr. Taylor. That is one of our great difficulties—the arbitrary rulings of the comptroller.
Senator WATSON. Can you give us specific instances, so that we will have them in the record for future reference?
Mr. TAYLOR. In our office in Washington we have literally hundreds of them, and we could give you any number of them.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. When you say “arbitrary," do I understand you to mean this, that after Director Hines, we will say, has made a ruling on a given case, the comptroller has claimed the power and exercised the power
Mr. TAYLOR. To set aside the director's decision.
Senator CONNALLY. He does that under the claim that the law makes him the judge as to the applicability of appropriations, and if the law did not authorize the appropriation to be applied to that purpose, and the director went contrary to the law, he vetoes him. That is the same authority he exercises over all the other departments and if we take him out of the Veterans' Bureau, will there not be a demand here by all the other departments to take him out?
Senator Walsh of Massachusetts. General Hines says you would have to take him out of the accounting act to get him out of the picture.