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Senator HARRISON. Was it laid on the table because they wanted the full 100 per cent proposition, or did they want less than 80 per cent?
Mr. TAYLOR. It was laid on the table to dispose of the question of paying the adjusted-compensation certificates.
Senator Harrison. So, the question of whether the 80 per cent was adequate, or too much, or not enough, did not enter into the action of the convention?
Mr. Taylor. That did not enter into it.
Mr. TAYLOR. Retirement and payment to the extent of 80 per cent of adjusted-compensation certificates. It did not say face value, or commuted value, or anything else.
Senator BARKLEY. Of course, that was an arbitrary percentage. Senator COUZENS. That looks like legislative jockeying.
Senator BARKLEY. I suppose it would be natural to conclude that they meant 80 per cent of the face value.
Mr. TAYLOR. Yes.
Senator BARKLEY. The meaning of this whole transaction was that the Legion did not feel it advisable to take the initiative in any regard with reference to this legislation. Mr. Taylor. That is correct.
Senator BARKLEY. It was not interpreted as an expression of opposition to the payment of these certificates, as I understand it?
Mr. Taylor. That is exactly what the executive committee said in Indianapolis last Sunday.
Senator HARRISON. Is it vour opinion that it would have been so difficult to pass the proposed legislation here that a good many may have thought it inopportune at that time, due to the probable opposition of the administration to the passage of such legislation?
Mr. TAYLOR. The Legion's primary interest, of course, is in legislation for the disabled men, and we are very much disturbed about the present situation of the disabled men's legislation. We have said that, and we repeat it. We believe that the disabled men's legislation should receive consideration at the present time. Outside of the hearing over on the House side on our hospital bills, there has not been a single solitary thing done on our disabled men's legislation in this Congress.
Senator WATSON. You did not want that mixed up with this question?
Mr. Taylor. We want our disabled men's legislation considered.
Senator BARKLEY. There are a good many questions I would like to ask.
Mr. TAYLOR. Go ahead.
Senator BARKLEY. But, in view of the fact that you are more or less embarrassed about giving you own personal views, outside of what this resolution says, I will not ask anything further.
Mr. TAYLOR. I can not give any personal views.
Senator BARKLEY. I have great respect for your personal views, and would like to have them, but I do not want to put you in an attitude where you can not give them.
Senator HARRISON. It may be that some gentleman, who was present at this Boston convention, might want to ask' him some questions, if that procedure is proper. Senator WATSON. It would be entirely proper.
Mr. Rankin. I was present, and I shall discuss that when my time comes.
I know as much about it as he does.
STATEMENT OF THOMAS KIRBY, NATIONAL LEGISLATIVE CHAIR
MAN, DISABLED AMERICAN VETERANS
Mr. Kirby. Mr. Chairman, in their rather exhaustive statements covering nearly three days, the Administrator of Veterans Affairs and the Secretary of the Treasury have so fully covered the general subject of adjusted compensation that it is my purpose to be as brief as possible in outlining the views of the D. A: V.
pose During the last week of last June, the tenth national convention of the D. A. V., after mature committee deliberation, voted in favor of an immediate redemption of the adjusted-service certificates. In the early days of the agitation for an adjustment of the pay
of World War soldiers, sailors, and marines, the D. A. V. campaigned for payments in cash, and later on, as compromise followed compromise, and the cash feature was virtually forgotten, the organized disabled withdrew from the fight.
By the time of the meeting last summer, the rising tide of distress among veterans, as among citizens generally, had reached the stage where the D. A. V. felt it was again justified in pleading with Congress that cash be granted. Since then, the only other two recognized veterans' groups have reached the same conclusion and to-day we find all the organized former service men of the World War joined in the one position.
It is our contention that the benefits of the cashing of these certificates at this time would not be limited to the veterans themselves, but would be an extremely valuable method of meeting the national depression, so I desire to place in the record at this time a tabulation of the amount of money that would be paid to residents of the several States, Territories, and insular possessions, from Oceania, with its 5 World War veterans and less than $5,000, to New York with more than 350,000 veterans who would receive approximately $375,000,000.
(The statement referred to is as follows:)
1.357 10,519 42, 076 191, 038 32, 914 42, 415
4, 751 27, 146 37, 325 56, 327
12, 894 242, 954 92, 296 77, 365
$45, 536, 468
1, 369, 518 11, 298, 522 38, 688, 879 207, 481, 950 32, 868, 428 45,878, 847
6, 162, 830 27,732, 736 36, 976, 981 53, 753, 575
12, 668, 040
1, 417 51, 577 20,699 46, 148 131, 996 127, 246 82, 455 35, 230 106, 205 17, 306 38,683
2,715 11, 876 111, 298
$53, 411, 195 58, 204, 508 47, 590, 744 20, 542, 767 47, 590, 741 141, 745, 095 129,761, 814 81. 168,311 32, 868, 428 102, 713,837 17, 461,352 38,688, 879
3,081, 415 12, 352, 661 117, 436, 154
$9, 586, 625 France
1, 357 $1,711, 897 374, 905, 504 Belgium
342, 379 59, 231, 646 Italy
5, 429 4,793, 312 15, 064, 696 Germany
339 342, 379 180, 433, 973 Austria,
339 342, 379 60, 943, 543 British Isles.
1, 357 1,711, 897 35, 265, 084 Northern Russia
and 265, 001, 699 Siberia..
1,357 1,369,518 21, 227, 526 Other parts of Europe and 32, 868, 128 Asia.
3, 393 3,081, 415 20, 200, 388 China.
1,018 1,369,518 55, 465, 472 Japan.
106, 405 146, 196, 038 South America.
342, 379 13,695, 178 Canada.
4, 108, 554 8, 559, 487 Cuba..
684, 759 62, 997, 820 Santo Domingo (Haiti), 57, 862, 128 Dominican Republic.
342, 379 39, 716, 017 Mexico.
684, 759 80, 459, 172 New Zealand.
31,019 10, 956, 143 Australia.
71, 163 342, 379 India
85, 196 312, 379 Central America
142, 005 4. 108, 554 West Indies
135, 105 6,505, 210 Newfoundland.
15, 546 7, 874, 728 Azores.
33, 350 342, 379 Africa
81,789 342, 379 Oceania.
4, 860 74, 641 4, 108, 554 Grand total
3,393, 914 3, 424, 575, 640
Mr. KIRBY. These are official figures based upon the Patman bill, which is about the most liberal that has been given consideration and calls for cash to nearly three and a half million men at a cost of approximately $3,500,000,000.
Of course, should this plan be adopted, the direct effect would be to the relief of the veterans who avail themselves of the proposition, but, also, it would mean a decided impetus to the econɔmic recovery through these millions of dollars that would be immediately placed in circulation. In no way could this be rated as a gift, as are most of the plans that have been considered to relieve want at this time, but rather payment of the debt at a time when there is a greater need than will probably be the need about 15 years hence.
While General Hines stated that only about 1 or 2 per cent of the tens of thousands of men who have already borrowed on their certificates have repaid the loans, it is our opinion that even a lower percentage of the disabled have been able to reimburse the Government. It is, therefore, easy to understand why the only organization of any war's disabled ever recognized in all history by Federal enactment, should have a particular interest in this legislation.
Assuming that this Congress will provide for some plan for immediate retirement of these policies, our organization is particularly interested in two phases what will unquestionably be injected into the discussion.
The first of these is the matter of an option. We feel that instead of adopting some proposal that would compel a World War man to decide at once to accept any offer, there should be discretion allowed between cashing the certificates this year and allowing them to continue to 1945.
The second is on the matter of need. From time to time there have been suggestions that it might be possible to work out some solution so that this cash would be available only for those in distress. On the surface this might appear as an equitable proposition
and we agree in principle, but it is our feeling that what good might result from such a provision would be more than offset by the operations of the machinery necessary to build up the facts to prove pauperism in each individual case. In other words, our major argument at this time is that there is distress everywhere, and that the veterans, speaking generally, need this money and need it now. If every one of the tens of thousands of men who ask this relief are to be subjected to the interminable red tape that would probably be necessary to establish necessitous circumstances, the suffering in most cases will be intensified rather than lessened.
While we do not object to a form of application having the man certify that he is applying because of need, we do feel that if this is to be followed up by an extensive system of investigation, alleviation of the suffering would be delayed and the Government will be building up a tremendous administrative cost.
Therefore, we urge that, regardless of what plan may meet with congressional favor, that the pauper clause be eliminated from serious consideration.
General Hines stated the death rate among World War veterans is below the accepted mortality table, but this appears easily explainable by the fact that these schedules are built upon average expectancy, and the former service men can not be included in that broad classification due to the fact that the whole armed force was composed of picked men in the sense that they had to undergo physical examination to prevent rejection. Under these conditions it is natural that the deaths among these men at this time would be below the average of those of comparable age, but within a few years, it is to be expected that there will be a marked increase in mortality among those who served during the war.
As public interest in the cashing of the certificates has spread there has been injected into the discussion the allegation that the retirement of these papers at this time will interfere with relief of the disabled. As a matter of fact, as shown by the record, and regardless of any other protestation about the disabled receiving priority, relief for the disabled has consistently followed bonus legislation. The original adjusted compensation measure preceded the enatement of the ReedJohnson bill of 1924, and in each successive session of Congress since that time liberalizing amendments to the law governing the Veterans' Bureau have trailed amendments to the bonus act. To-day we are urging additional hospital construction to meet insistent demands for more beds and we have before the Veterans' Committee of the House a number of proposals to amend the World War veterans act, but in authorizing some form of cashing the certificates, regardless of any other legislation for the disabled, this Congress would be consistent with the programs of the past.
With a high percentage of Members of the Senate and House in favor of making some adjustment on this matter at present, it is manifest that one of the difficulties of this committee is in choosing the best of the main plans already organized. Up to this time between 50 and 60 bills of one sort or another have been introduced to bring about the cashing of these certificates in one form or another. Many of these are duplications while others differ rather in the method of payment than in the principle of redemption.
Of course, we are fully mindful of the fact that the availability of money is one of the most important factors in the whole bonus equation. Secretary Mellon and Undersecretary Mills have jointly presented a most impressive picture of the financial problems involved in this movement and their statements should and will receive the most serious consideration of all those interested in the matter. When the armistice abruptly ended hostilities, America was spending on the war about $29,000,000 a day or more than a million dollars an hour, and was planning for the ultimate triumph during the following year.
The Nation overcame that gigantic financial crisis just as it can meet the test presented in paying the cash bonus at this time. The Treasury Department throughout the long campaign leading up to the enactment of the adjusted compensation act consistently fought the whole proposition in principle and in detail, and a comparison of the statements just made by the Treasury officials with the statements made by the Treasury officials six years ago show a striking similarity.
The D. A. V. would prefer the enactment of the Brookhart-Patman bill, which would pay to-day the amounts that would be due to the men in 1945, plus the $60 bonus which was deducted in the computation of the figures. Secondly, the Connally-Garner plan has the strongest appeal to our membership, but, at a recent meeting of national officers of our organization, it was definitely agreed that under no condition would we favor a lower payment than is provided for in the so-called Fish bill, which, in substance, calls for payment immediately of 25 per cent of the certificate's value.
Senator WATSON. How many members are there in your organization?
Mr. Kirby. Between 30,000 and 40,000. A prerequisite for our membership is a service-connected disability. All of our men have disabilities resulting directly from the war.
Senator WATSON. How much money would it take to carry out your immediate plans of hospitalization?
Mr. KIRBY. We are asking for 5,000 beds at a cost of about $3,000 each, or $15,000,000.
Senator WATSON. That is the sum total?
Senator REED. Has the bill been reported out of the House committee yet?
Mr. KIRBY. No, sir. Hearings on that bill started on the 1st of April. They continued during the session. They were resumed in December. They are on to-day, and the schedule calls for the 3d of November. They are having very exhaustive hearings on the several State proposals. Our position is entirely different. We think that the hospital beds should be appropriated for in blanket appropriations, and the sites should be selected according to the density of the disabled military population, regardless of State lines, so we have taken no part in the representations.
Senator HARRISON. What is the attitude of the Veterans' Bureau with reference to it?
Mr. Kirby. Our proposal concerning the locations has been extremely well received, not only by the Veterans' Bureau but particularly by the Federal Board of Hospitalization, which finally decides where these locations will be selected.