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chronic diseases from which they will probably never recover, and if they do recover, even though they call it a pension, under the present law on veterans' compensation, until that law is changed the Veterans' Bureau would have a right to reopen their cases and change it.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. Mr. Rankin, you heard the statement of General Hines in respect of the estimated minimum cost and maximum cost of the bill that was under consideration?
Mr. RANKIN. Yes, sir.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. I have heard your statement, now, giving your estimate, if your views, or the bill in the form in which you suggest it, be adopted. But what have you to say in regard to the estimate of General Hines?
Mr. RANKIN. About running up into the millions?
Mr. RANKIN. I am not criticising his estimate on that. I am taking his estimate on the bill we have advocated all the time. We had to take this bill, loaded down with these amendments in the House, or send it back to an unfriendly committee. But we had to take this bill and bring it over here and ask you gentlemen to eliminate the objectionable features, or else we had to send it back and leave it there, possibly, for another year, while these men die at the rate of 72 a day. In the estimate, General Hines is taking as a basis the Johnson bill, which covers all disabilities.
Senator BARKLEY. Is the Johnson bill the bill that passed the House, with the amendments that were put in?
Mr. RANKIN. Yes, sir.
Mr. RANKIN. No. I do not think they eliminated anything. They just added to it.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. I asked the question in order that we might clear it up for the record.
Mr. RANKIN. The Johnson bill brought all disabilities up to 1925. I engrafted onto that my amendment, which brought these chronic cases up to 1930. Mr. Connery, of Massachusetts, then arose and moved to strike out 1925, and bring all the Johnson cases up to 1930. That is the bill that General Hines estimates would cost several hundred millions of dollars a year. I am not in a position to contradict him, although my opinion is that it would cost $108,000,000. His estimate was that if they used the figures in the Veterans' Bureau as to the cases that had been filed, the Johnson bill would cost $76,000,000. With my amendment engrafted onto it, it would cost $31,000,000 more, making $108,000,000. But if you use the figures in the Pension Bureau, as I understand it, the Johnson bill would possibly cost a couple of hundred million.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. What was the minimum?
General Hines. May I just interpose? I think I can straighten it out. You are talking about section 200.
Mr. RANKIN. Yes.
General Hines. The estimate on the Rankin bill was correctly given by you as $42,000,000.
Mr. RANKIN. Yes.
General Hines. And the estimate for the Johnson bill, in connection with section 200, was $76,000,000.
Mr. RANKIN. Yes.
General Hines. If you add your amendment to the Johnson bill on section 200, you will run it up to $108,000,000.
Mr. RANKIN. Yes.
General Hines. Now, with the Connery amendment, and no limitation at all, it brought in all disabilities and, in reality, made it a pension measure. Therefore, I took both the Pension Bureau's estimate and the Veterans' Bureau's estimate, and it ran it up to about $400,000,000.
Mr. RANKIN. There is no conflict between General Hines and myself on the argument I am making, as I understand it, with respect to these figures. If they had just eliminated the Johnson amendment in connection with section 200, and put in my amendment, which confined it to these chronic diseases, it would have been between $42,000,000 and $44,000,000.
Senator COUZENS. If we follow your recommendations, then, this bill would cost only about $44,000,000, is that right?
Mr. RANKIN. Yes.
Mr. RANKIN. What does the rest of the bill cost? Let me say another thing, in that connection. It will not cost $42,000,000, and General Hines will bear me out in this. You must bear in mind that we in the committee minority never saw this bill until we were called to pass upon it. I am not responsible for anything in that bill except what you will find in section 200, and except that I did agree to the Wood amendment, and possibly one or two other minor amendments. But in this bill there is a provision inserted by the author to pay the dependents of those confined to hospitals and uncompensated, around $30 or $40 a month.
General Hines. That amounts to $4,000,000.
Mr. Rankin. That will amount to $4,000,000. If my amendment is put in, these men suffering from chronic diseases will draw compensation, and therefore their people will not draw this amount, and it will eliminate anywhere from $3,000,000 to $4,000,000 of that expense. So, it will really bring my amendment down a little below $40,000,000. It will take care of the cases that the American people are asking us to take care of, and that the service organizations are asking us to take care of.
Now, of course, as General Hines intimated, if you take the Johnson bill, and just take all disabilities, you have an entirely different picture. Suppose this were extended to 1931, we will say, and I should go out this summer and have typhoid fever for six or eight weeks, and ultimately recover. It is absurd to think that I would call on the Government, but under the Johnson bill that is what it means. It puts in all acute cases in addition to the chronic ones. There is where we draw the line of distinction between acute troubles, or accidents, and chronic diseases. But if you will narrow this bill down to that original Rankin amendment, and limit it to tuberculosis, nuropsychiatric cases, and other chronic diseases, and carry it up to 1930, you will take care of these men on less than $40,000,000 a year, and the chances are that many of those men now in hospitals, who are drawing no compensation, will take their compensation and go home or go to private institutions, and thereby reduce the expense to the Government about $120 a month.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. For the sake of the record, and for the sake of clearing my own mind, as I understand you, as to those cases or troubles just mentioned by you, they are presumptively attributed to service in the war.
Mr. RANKIN. That is right.
Mr. Rankin. Yes, sir. If a man develops cancer, or has chronic stomach trouble, or has chronic rheumatism, or paralysis, under my bill he is presumed to have contracted it in the service.
Senator ShortRIDGE. Those are known as chronic diseases.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. Those terms there are, to some, a little misleading and not clearly understood.
Mr. RANKIN. In the original bill we had both the words “chronic" and “constitutional,” but it developed that there were a few cases, such as I have mentioned-nephritis, I think, and phlebitis, and rheumatism—that were chronic, but not constitutional. They represented a small number of cases, possibly, but I thought they ought to be taken care of, even if it cost us a little more money.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. So your bill does not include what are termed “acute ('ases???
Mr. RANKIN. No, sir.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. It does not include what are known as acute cases or constitutional cases?
Mr. RANKIN. If a man had an acute trouble in 1926-say, typhoid fever--and it drifted into chronic tuberculosis, he would come under
I thank the committee for giving me this courteous hearing.
STATEMENT OF EDWIN S. BETTELHEIM, JR., REPRESENTING
VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS OF THE UNITED STATES
The CHAIRMAN. Give your name, position, and whom you represent.
Mr. BETTELHEIM. My name is Edwin S. Bettelheim, jr., I am chairman of the legislative committee of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
It is not my purpose to go into this bill in detail, but just to mention one or two items. As I do so, my mind goes back a few years to a meeting in this room, when the chairman of this committee mentioned that the time was propitious, or would come within a few years, when we could go before the Congress for what would be an ordinary pension bill.
The CHAIRMAN I did not say the time was propitious,
Mr. BETTELHEIM. You did not say the time was propitious at that time. You said the time would come. That is what I intended to say. I believe that the time has come.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars believe that the Rankin bill has gone a great way, but they believe that the bill has not gone far enough.
We believe that with all the amendments and all the presumption clauses that are being placed upon the original World War veterans' act, we have nothing more to-day than a pension bill, or almost a pension bill, or a pension situation.
As has been mentioned here, you can call it what you like. Call it a gratuity. Call it a pension. Call it compensation. It is all a gratuity given by this Government to its soldiers or former soldiers for services performed, with the idea of compensating them for disabilities that they may have incurred or that may result from their service.
If it is felt that the word "pension” is not germane to this particular bill, let us call it a “compensation award.”
If I may be permitted, I would like to insert in the record an extract from H. R. 9801, which calls it a compensation award. The idea is similar, and is germane.
The CHAIRMAN. You may put it in at this point if (The statement referred to is as follows:)
ExcERPT FROM H. R. 9801 (Introduced at request of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of United States) Sec. 215. (a) That all persons who served 90 days or more in the military or naval forces of the United States during the World War and who have been honorably discharged therefrom, or who, having served less than 90 days, were discharged for disability incurred in the service in line of duty and who are not receiving compensation, and who are now or who may hereafter be suffering from any mental or physical disability or disabilities of a permanent character not the result of their own vicious habits which so incapacitates them for the performance of manual labor as to render them unable to earn a support, shall, upon making due proof of the fact, according to such rules and regulations as the bureau may provide, be entitled to receive a compensation award not exceeding $50 per month and not less than $10 per month, proportioned to the degree of inability to earn a support, and in determining such inability each and every infirmity shall be duly considered and the aggregate of the disabilities shown shall be rated.
Any veteran who may be entitled to a compensation award under this section, who is now, or hereafter may become, on account of his age or physical or mental disabilities, helpless or blind, or so nearly helpless or blind as to need or require the regular aid and attendance of another person, shall be given the rate of $72 per month provided such disabilities are not the result of his own vicious habits.
(b) The widow of any veteran who was entitled to compensation award under this section, such widow having married such soldier, sailor, or marine prior to the passage of this act, shall, upon due proof of her husband's death, without proving his death to be the result of his service, be entitled to compensation at the rate of $30 per month during her widowhood. And this section shall apply to a former widow of any such veteran, such widow having remarried either once or more after the death of the veteran, if it be shown that such subsequent or successive marriage has or have been dissolved, either by the death of the husband or husbands or by divorce on any ground except adultery on the part of the wife, and any such former widow shall be entitled to and be paid a compensation award at the rate of $30 per month, and any widow or former widow mentioned in this section shall also be paid $6 per month for each child under 16 years of age of such veteran, and in case there be no widow or one not entitled to compensation under this section the minor children under 16 years of age of such veteran shall be entitled to compensation herein provided for the widow; and in the event of the death or remarriage of the widow or the forfeiture of the widow's title to a compensation award, said compensation shall continue from the date of such death, remarriage, or forfeiture to such child or children of such veteran until the age of 16 years: Provided, That in case a minor child is insane, idiotic, or otherwise, helpless the compensation award shall continue during the life of such child or during the period of such disability; that the compensation award herein provided for shall commence from the date of filing application therefor in the bureau, after the approval of this act, and in such form as may be prescribed by the director.
Mr. BETTELHEIM. The idea of this bill is similar to that of the bill introduced by Senator Robsion of Kentucky, known as S. 3488, introduced at our request.
(The bill referred to is as follows:).
(S. 3488, Seventy-first Congress, second session) A BILL Granting pensions to certain soldiers, sailors, and marines of the World War, to certain widows, minor children, and helpless children of such soldiers, sailors, and marines, and for other purposes
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That all persons who entered the service prior to November 11, 1918, and served ninety days or more in the military or naval service of the United States during the World War between April 6, 1917, and July 2, 1921, and who have been honorably discharged therefrom, or who, having served less than ninety days, were discharged for disability incurred in the service in line of duty and who are not receiving compensation, and who are now or who may hereafter be suffering from any mental or physical disability or disabilities of a permanent character not the result of their own vicious habits which so incapaci- . tates them for the performance of manual labor as to render them unable to earn a support, shall
, upon making due proof of the fact, according to such rules and regulations as the Secretary of the Interior may provide, be entitled to receive a pension not exceeding $50 per month and not less than $10 per month, proportioned to the degree of inability to earn a support, and in determining such inability each and every infirmity shall be duly considered and the aggregate of the disabilities shown shall be rated.
Sec. 2. Any person who may be entitled to a pension under this act on account of his service during the World War, who is now or hereafter may become, on account of his age or physical or mental disabilities, helpless, or blind, or so nearly helpless or blind es to need or require the regular aid and attendance of another person, shall be given the rate of $72 per month provided such disabilities are not the result of his own vicious habits.
Sec. 3. That no person while maintained as an inmate in an institution under the United States Government or State soldier's homes for a period of more than four months in any one year shall be paid more than $30 per month under this act.
SEC. 4. The widow of any officer or enlisted man who entered the service prior to November 11, 1918, and served ninety days or more in the Army, Navy, or Marine Corps of the United States during the World War and was honorably discharged from such service, or, regardless of the length of service, was discharged for or died in service of a disability incurred in the service in line of duty, such widow having married such soldier, sailor, or marine prior to the passage of this act, shall, upon due proof of her husband's death, without proving his death to be the result of his service, be placed upon the pension roîl at the rate of $30 per month during he: widowhood; and any widow mentioned in this section shall also be paid $6 per month for each child under 16 years of age of such soldier, sailor, or marine, and in case there be no widow or one not entitled to pension under any law granting additional pensions to minor children the minor children under 16 years of age of such soldier, sailor, or marine, shall be entitled to the pension herein provided for the widow; and in the event of the death or remarriage of the widow or forfeiture of the widow's title to pension the pension shall continue from the date of such death, remarriage, or forfeiture to such child or children of such soldier, sailor, or marine until the age of 16 years: Provided, That in case a minor child is insane, idiotic, or otherwise helpless the pension shall continue during the life of such child or during the period of such disability: Provided further, That when a pension has been granted to an insane, idiotic, or otherwise helpless child or to a child or children under the age of 16 years, a widow shall not be entitled to a pension under this act until the pension to such child or children terminates unless such child or children be a member or members of her family and cared for by her; and upon the granting of pension to such widow or former widow, payment of pension to such child or children shall cease, and this proviso shall apply to all claims arising under this or any other act.
SEC. 5. That the pension herein provided for shall commence from the date of filing application therefor in the Bureau of Pensions, after the approval of this act, and in such form as may be prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior; and the issue of a check in payment of a pension for which the execution and submission of a voucher was not required shall constitute payment in the event of