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Mr. RANKIN. You mean in this bill?
Mr. RANKIN. I rather think that would be the outcome. In that connection I want to answer some of the arguments advanced the other day.
But, getting back to the veterans, you heard Mr. Kirby's statement here. He represents the disabled veterans of the World War. They are 100 per cent for this amendment that I speak of, for the original Rankin bill. I call it that because it happened to bear my name. I was willing to let it go in as an amendment to the other bill. I do not care anything about the pride of authorship. I was willing for it to go in the Johnson bill, and I am willing for you to put in any bill. What we want is relief for these disabled men.
Take the American Legion. I deny that the American Legion are opposed to this proposition to advance this period from 1925 to 1930. I
say that they are for it, from end of the country to the other. Take the States that have passed on it since this controversy began. One of them, we find, was the State of Pennsylvania. The State of Pennsylvania held its meeting, took this question up, and unanimously indorsed it.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. You mean as to the time limit?
Mr. RANKIN. Extending this period to 1930. Mr. Pinola, the commander, and Mr. Deighan, the adjutant, have both been to see me, and I asked them if that was the sentiment. They said every American Legion post in Pennsylvania was behind it. Mr. Pinola has said that within the last few days. I have not heard from Mr. Deighan in the last few days, but I'm sure he will say so too.
While this bill was before the House committee, I find that the Department of Mississippi had wired Mr. Taylor and asked that he come before the veterans' committee and support this measure to extend this presumptive period for these unfortunate men to January, 1930. I find here a resolution recently passed by the American Legion of Crawford County, III. I also find a statement here that in the case of tuberculosis the extersion of the time for service connection until January 1, 1930, originated with area A, rehabilitation committee of the American Legion, composed of the States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. It was also indorsed by 13 other additional States.
Those are the statements that come to me from these disabled veterans themselves. I have had telegrams, and have received some this morning, from two or three different States, asking for this extension. My files are literally teeming with them. That is true of the files of every other Congressman. They urge the advancement of this period to January 1930.
I have a telegram here from Ashland, Ky. Here is one from Chicago, Ill. I find one here from Johnson City, Tenn. I could produce thousands of them if it were necessary to encumber the record, and I defy any man to show any appreciable number of American Legion Posts that have come out in opposition to this extension of time. Everywhere it has been taken up it has been acted upon favorably. The members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and every other service organization that I know anything about have come out in favor of this extension-men at home, who oppose what they call the bonus, the adjusted compensation; exofficers, if you please, who are outraged at the passage of the so-called emergency officers' retirement bill, the effects of which you will find in the Congressional Record of April 10; men who opposed those measures appeal to me and are appealing to other Members of Congress to pass this bill providing for this extension of time for these unfortunate disabled men to January 1, 1930.
Senator REED. Mr. Rankin, there is no question about a good many of them asking it, or a good many of them wanting it, but what can you tell us about the justice of it? Here is what sticks in my mind. Suppose I got tuberculosis in October, 1929. Everybody would know that had nothing to do with my military service. Why should I be entitled to compensation, any more than any other citizen of the United States?
Mr. RANKIN. Senator Reed, I will be glad to answer that from my standpoint. In the first place, I am not going to concede that you contracted it in 1929. The chances are that, as a great many of these men have been, you would have been more or less indisposed ever since you left the service, but have been trying to carry on. Possibly you have had a hacking cough, and othr symptoms that finally developed the fact that you had tuberculosis. Therefore, my contention is that at least these neuropsychiatric men and these tubercular men invariably owe their disabilities to the service.
Now then, to go a little further, I want to say to you that these men served, and served honorably. If they had not, they would have been dishonorably discharged. We wait until those who are now sick all die, and when they get up to about 65 or 70 years of age, we pension them by a blanket pension. Why? You pension your old soldiers. We pension our old Confederate soldiers, everyone of them who will take it. Why? Because they are disabled. They are disabled from old age. That is the reason no man to-day dares rise and oppose a pension bill in Congress, or in a State legislature, for these old men, because they know they have passed the day of their earning power. They are disabled from old age. Then, why let these men die of tuberculosis, when they are just as much disabled? Why let this crazy man's children and his wife go without protection, and say to him “If you will just lie there now until you get to be 70 years old, we will take care of you?”.
Senator REED. If you will allow an interruption, I think the community owes a duty to any person who is disabled by tuberculosis or insanity, to protect him as long as he lives, but I do not think the duty is any different toward the ordinary citizen of the United States than it is toward a soldier, where there is no connection with the military service. I can see that a man who served a long time at the front, and who has shown instability of mind since then might probably trace back his condition of insanity to his war service. But how in the world can you presume that a man who has spent two or three weeks in the Quartermaster's Department in the United States Army and develops insanity in 1929 can trace it back to his military service?
Mr. RANKIN. Senator, as I said, there are two hoins to this dilemma. One is the fact that the disabilities oî ihese iren are probably traceable to the service
Senator REED. Would you think that was so in the case of the emergency officers' retirement bill?
Mr. RANKIN. No; not all of them, judging from the positions some of them held. I want to talk about pensions for just a minute. I want to talk about that emergency officers' retirement act a little later.
Let me repeat. In the first place, there is the idea that the disabilities of these men are probably traceable to the service. In the second place-taking up the pension idea--they are disabled. They served honorably. Somebody has to take care of them. They have rendered their greatest service to the Government, and the Government is the one that should take care of them.
As to the pension proposition, you do not frighten me at all by talking about pensions. When I was a boy I used to hear a great deal about pensions, and I got the idea that a pension was a horrible thing, until I grew up and I saw that it was nothing at all but a matter of justice to the men who served their State or their Government in time of stress. Every law on the statute books that compensates a man who has left the service is a pension law. Do not mistake that. I do not care what anybody representing any organization says. It is a pension. You pay a man compensation. Every man on the compensation roll to-day is drawing a pension. I do not object to it at all. I would rather you would call it a pension.
The CHAIRMAN. A pension may be granted for no service whatever. They did render service. That is the difference between a pension and compensation.
Mr. RANKIN. That would not be the exact difference, because all your Federal soldiers rendered service.
The ChairMAN. There is that difference between them.
Mr. RANKIN. The difference between them is this. The only difference I can distinguish is that one of them is permanent and the other is temporary. In other words, a man who is drawing what is called compensation is subject to having his case interfered with at any time. "A man who is drawing a pension is on the rolls permanently.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. It is not a question of words, but of fact.
Mr. RANKIN. When I say there is no difference, I mean that when the check gets to the poor fellow over there who needs help, he does not care whether you call it a pension, compensation, or retirement рау.
The CHAIRMAN. Or whether it comes from the State or the Vation.
Mr. RANKIN. Whether it comes from the State, or whether it comes from the Government; just so they get it. It is something to take care of themselves, their wives, and children.
Senator BARKLEY. Mr. Rankin, let me ask you what is the medical opinion as to the length of time during which tuberculosis can develop from any given cause?
Mr. RANKIN. It varies with the number of doctors put on the stand.
Senator BARKLEY. There ought to be somebody of medical opinion with regard to how long an exposure requires to develop into tuberculosis, ought there not?
Mr. RANKIN. Some of them will give you one opinion, and some another. But, from hearing the doctors I have heard testify, my opinion is that it is virtually indefinite. But, of course, the closer you are to the time of exposure, the more likely you are to develop it. I was talking to a very able physician in the Senate, Senator Hatfield. I do not see him in the room. He said he would like to come before the committee. He talked to me as though he were of the opinion that a vast number of them who broke down, even at this late date, had disabilities which were due to their service in the Army.
Senator Thomas of Oklahoma. Mr. Rankin, is it not the general opinion among medical men that every person has at some time in his existence had more or less of tubercular trouble?
Mr. RANKIN. I think I have heard that statement, Senator.
The CHAIRMAN. I have heard it contradicted, however, a thousand times, to one who ever made the statement.
Mr. RANKIN. Yes. Frankly, I do not think it is true. I do not think I have ever had tuberculosis.
Senator CONNALLY. Is not tuberculosis more the result of the condition of the system and the lack of vitality that permits the germ to take hold and develop, rather than the presence of the germ?
Mr. Rankin. Yes, I think so.
The CHAIRMAN. Some of the worst cases of tuberculosis that I know of are those of very healthy men and very healthy women who never had a sick day in their lives until they took it. I have it in my own family, and I know just exactly the situation. They were never sick a day until they were taken with it.
Mr. RANKIN. That is sometimes true, Senator, but in the Army during the World War, almost every sodlier had influenza. I do not know how it affected others. The Government does not owe me anything, and I do not expect to ever ask for anything for myself, but I felt the effect of influenza for seven or eight years.
Senator Reed. But very nealy every civilian had it. Many of those men would have had the same disease if they had not been in the service.'
Mr. RANKIN. But those men in the service who were inclined toward tuberculosis, where they had tuberculosis in their families, or were exposed to it, were weakened by the influenza in the service, and the chances are that many of these thousands of men who now have tuberculosis can trace its origin to the fact that they had influenza, and went through the strenuous service that followed, because just as soon as they were able to go back to work they were put back into the field.
Senator BARKLEY. Has anybody expressed any opinion as to the proportion of men who would have contracted tuberculosis if we had not had a war?
Mr. RANKIN. Yes, but they go on this theory, Senator. They went on to show, before the Veterans' Committee, that this percentage of tubercular men among the soldiers is just about what it is among civilians, but they overlooked the fact that these were picked men. They were the men who were physically fit. They were strong men, in every particular, you might say, when they were taken into the service. When you take the whole population, you take in millions of people who, I suppose, are born with tuberculosis, or who contract it long before they reach the age of maturity.
Speaking of the pension proposition, Senator Reed mentioned this emergency officers' retirement bill. That is one subject on which he and I at one time—and I suppose to-day--thoroughly agree. think it is the greatest monstrosity, or one of the greatest monstrosities that ever has been put over on the American Congress or the American people, and I find that the service men throughout the country are revolting against it. Mr. Taylor advocated that, and he opposes this, on the ground that it is a pension.
Senator REED. Mr. Taylor advocated that because the American Legion, in national convention, advocated it.
Mr. RANKIN. Yes; a few of them. It was brought about by a small group of ex-service men who wanted to get this through for their own benefit.
Senator REED. And it was the greatest discrimination against the enlisted man of the Army that was ever put over.
Mr. RANKIN. Absolutely. There is no question about that. Yet it is a pension. Here you are pensioning men up as high as $350 a month. A man who is 30 per cent disabled is retired, or if he proves later to be 30 per cent disabled, under the law he goes on the pension roll for life, no matter if he gets well. That is a pension. I find in here men from the Quartermaster Corps, and men from the Judge Advocate General's Department. I noticed one man from the Judge Advocate General's Department, drawing $218 a month, and yet the very men who sponsored that legislation have been the most reluctant to help us take care of these men from the rank and file who are now dying of tuberculosis and neuropsychiatric troubles, cancer, paralysis agitans, and so forth, and who are lying flat on their backs; men who are suffering from phlebitis, nephritis, rheumatism, and other diseases from which they can never recover.
For that reason I want to say, as a legionnaire, as a Member of Congress, and as an American, that I can not reconcile such inconsistencies.
You talk about this being a pension, when you put these poor fellows in this condition on the roll. You may call it a pension if you want to, and bring it before the House or the Senate with the word “pension” printed across the front page, and it will pass. Take it to the American people with the word “pension" on it, and they will indorse it. That is my experience, coming from a section of the country where they frowned, until recently, at least, on what they call large pensions. They are unanimously in favor of this extension of time for these unfortunate men who are suffering from these incurable diseases, and who served their country honorably during the World War, many thousands of whom owe their disabilities to that service.
I do not want to take up the time of the committee. I will be glad to answer any questions I can that you care to ask. I came largely because of the misrepresentations that are going through the press to the effect that we are trying to raid the Treasury for three or four hundred millions of dollars a year, when, as a matter of fact, at the outside our bill will cost only about $44,000,000, and it will take care of those men for whom the American people are now appealing to Congress.
The service men do not ask you to go outside and take in the man who broke his leg last year, or who stubbed his toe. They do not ask you to go out and take in these acute diseases covered by the Johnson bill. They do not ask you to go out and take in those diseases from which a man in all probability will soon recover, or has recovered; but they are asking you to take these men who are suffering from tuberculosis, neuropsychiatric troubles, paralysis agitans, and other