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Hyperthyroidism, moderate or postoperative with symptomatology producing definite and appreciable industrial inadaptability.
Thyroid gland, nontaxic adenoma of, with pressure symptoms or marked disfigurement.
Addison's disease, well established, with one or two crises or less than five episodes of lesser symptomatology or with symptoms such as weakness and fatigability.
Diabetes, mild, controlled by restricted diet, without insulin, without impairment of health or vigor or limitation of activity.
ORGANIC DISEASES OF THE CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM
Migraine, with characteristic prostrating attacks averaging one in 2 months over last several months.
Paralysis (cranial nerves) incomplete, moderate.
Epilepsy-grand mal and petit mal—at least one major seizure in the last 2 years or at least two minor seizures in the past 6 months.
Psychotic disorders—slight impairment of social and industrial adaptability. Organic brain syndromes—slight impairment of social and industral adaptability.
Mr. Dorn. We will now hear from Mr. Ralph J. Rossignuolo of AMVETS.
STATEMENT OF RALPH J. ROSSIGNUOLO, ACTING ASSISTANT
NATIONAL LEGISLATIVE DIRECTOR, AMVETS Mr. ROSSIGNUOLO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I am sorry our acting national legislative director, Mr. Don Spagnolo, is ill today and cannot be here. I am pinch-hitting for him, and I will read his testimony, on his behalf. He would be very happy to be here, because he is aware of what this distinguished committee has accomplished.
I am Ralph J. Rossignuolo, assistant executive director of AMVETS. (Reading:]
On behalf of AMVETS, I am delighted to be afforded this opportunity to present our views to this subcommittee with respect to increased rates for service connected compensation and the need for equalizing rate increases.
AMVETS acknowledges with sincere appreciation the interest and economic factors in our society that the needs and interests of each specialized group such as veterans, students, business people, farmers, the elderly, must each be considered in a frame of reference which bears an intelligent and equitable relationship both to our total society, other legitimate special interest groups, and particularly to the total resources and income of our country. Only in this way can the proper balance between the legitimate interests of such groups and the total needs and resources of our society be equitably allocated.
More and more clearly it is also becoming evident that any social program, whether it be in the field of wages, profits, compensation, pension, in any sector of our society which is tied to fixed or limited stated dollar amounts, will be almost constantly in need of revision. Such frequent revisions are a subject of controversy each time it becomes necessary to attempt to maintain the relative position of a particular group such as veterans, in proper relation to the whole.
For these reasons we believe that in the field of veterans benefits, particularly rates of compensation, an economic index oriented formula should be developed. Such formulas have been developed upon which basic wage agreements in industry and more recently in Government salaries of all kinds have been based. Such formulas take into consideration many factors such as growth rates, productivity increases, rises in cost of living, the gross national product and other such indexes of the total economy. We believe that such a formula is not onl desirable, but feasible.
We feel that the development of such a formula for veterans benefits rates should have the close guidance and sanction which this committee is best qualified to give.
AMVETS will assist in every way, the efforts of this committee should they undertake the development of such an economic formula.
On December 12 and 13, 1964, AMVETS views were further detailed and secured the unanimous approval of our national executive committee when they were adopted as AMVETS’ official legislative position :
“1. Consideration should be given to increasing Veterans' Administration compensation rates on the basis of studies conducted by the Department of Labor and develop a cost-of-lving index formula similar to that which the Federal Pay Act of 1962 is based. To this end, it is recommended that AMVETS draft and present legislation that would cause a 10-percent increase in monetary benefits to the service-connected disabled veterans.
"We say a 10-percent rate because there are various formulas being presented. Up until 1951, there was a variation in the scale of payments. Therefore, we recommend a straight 10-percent increase to the service-connected disabled veterans."
Our national commander, Lincoln S. Tamraz, in his appearance before the full House Veterans Affairs Committee on March 31 1965, indicated the interest of AMVETS in developing a sound automatic increase formula for compensation rates when he said, “In the areas of increased rates of compensation for veterans and their dependents, we believe that this should be currently updated so that they do not lag behind rates of increased wages and other Government and nonGovernment retirement and pension programs until such time as an acceptable formula for automatic increases geared to cost-of-living indexes, incomes, and so forth, can be developed by the whole House Veterans' Affairs Committee."
Development of such a formalized procedure for periodic rate adjustments would do much to remove the matter of rates, the size of increases, the effective dates, from recurrent controversy, particularly if the review were on an annual or a biannual basis.
In light of the remarks of the distinguished Mr. Oliver Meadows, the director of the professional staff of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, directed to the American Legion in Dallas, Tex., in September of 1964, we know that this is a matter which has been of extreme concern to him and the members of this committee. We concur in and support his expression as set forth in his statement, when he said: "Since 1933, veterans compensation has increased 126 percent, cost of living 139 percent, Federal pay raises, 172 percent. We set today the price of a man's health, total disability, at $3,000 a year. Prominent in the politics of this Nation is the talk about poverty, official programs sanctioned by the Congress and the President, that $3,000 is a poverty level, and that people in that category deserve the special attention of the U.S. Government. Here we find ourselves with our top 100-percent service-connected rate fixed at the same rate that is considered to be the poverty rate in the United States. This is a disgraceful situation."
In discussing any particular sector of the rate structure for compensation and pension we must not lose sight of the vital importance of maintaining the proper relationship of the total amount of benefits payments between the various classes of beneficiaries and the proper consideration for the basis upon which eligibility, service connected or nonservice connected is based.
AMVETS believes that special consideration represented by a differential in benefit payments is proper for those veterans and dependents entitled to compensation on the basis of service-connected disease, injury or entitlement.
We are in accord with the legislative intent of H.R. 540, H.R. 189, and H.R. 2036. It is a privilege to again be given the opportunity to express the ideas and views of AMVETS for the consideration of this distinguished committee.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. KORNEGAY. I have no questions. I just want to thank Mr. Rossignuolo for his statement and I hope that Mr. Spagnolo gets well. You did a fine job.
Mr. ROBERTS. I have no questions. I just want to thank you for a fine statement.
Mr. Fino. I have no questions. I just want to say I think Mr. Rossignuolo did a wonderful pinchhitting job.
Mr. TEAGUE of California. Thank you, very much. I noted that you referred to Mr. Meadows as the distinguished Mr. Meadows. We all agree. We also consider Mr. Patterson to be distinguished, too.
Mr. RossIGNUOLO. We do, too.
Mr. DORN. Since there are no further witnesses this committee will be adjourned until 10:30 tomorrow morning, when our distinguished minority leader is scheduled to present the commander of World War I veterans.
(Whereupon, at 10:50 a.m., the hearing was adjourned, to reconvene Thursday, April 29, 1965, at 10:30 a.m.)
THURSDAY, APRIL 29, 1965
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met at 10 a.m., pursuant to recess, in room 356, Cannon House Office Building, Hon. W. J. Bryan Dorn (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. Dorn. The subcommittee will come to order to continue the hearings begun Tuesday.
We are happy this morning to have with us the distinguished minority leader of the U.S. House, a very able and distinguished colleague of a number of years, the gentleman from Michigan, Mr. Gerald R. Ford, who will present the distinguished and able commander of World War I Veterans, U.S.A.
Mr. Ford ?
STATEMENT OF HON. GERALD R. FORD, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MICHIGAN
Mr. FORD. Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee on Compensation and Pensions, it is a privilege and pleasure to come before the committee. It is a special privilege to have the opportunity of introducing to the committee and to each of you individually, Mr. Earle H. Picard, who is the national commander of Veterans of World War I, U.S.A. I have known Earle Picard for a number of years. He is a constituent of mine. He has long been interested in veterans' affairs in a constructive way. He is and has been an active civic leader. In addition, he is a successful businessman in my congressional district. He is the only fireworks manufacturer in the State of Michigan, and believe me, he does a good job. But I do wish to commend his observations and comments to the committee. I can say they are sincere.
I believe they will be helpful and I want to reiterate that it is a privilege for me to introduce him to all of you.
Mr. Dorn. Mr. Ford, we know you have a busy schedule, and we appreciate your coming before this committee to present Mr. Picard.
Mr. Commander, we are delighted to have you. We admire greatly your distinguished Congressman. He is a national leader.