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reduce the high number of unemployed veterans. More help is needed, especially to reduce the number of unemployed Vietnam veterans which at last count was over 200,000. That is one reason why the Veterans of Foreign Wars supported legislation developed by this committee, which has authorized a substantial number of veterans employment representatives in the States employment offices to be filled by Vietnam veterans. It is our understanding that money for these authorized new positions in the Department of Labor's Veterans Employment Service has not been requested in this year's 1974 budget-just another example of the hollow ring of statements like we can never fully repay the patriotic sacrifices of the American
Mr. Chairman, the Veterans of Foreign Wars does not relish the idea of the Veterans' Administration having to report to the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare regarding veterans programs. Yet this is a fact. Under the present reorganization of the executive branch of the Government, Caspar Weinberger wears two hats-Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare and Counselor to the President on Human Resources. The supercrats have decreed that some veterans programs, such as pension, education, and medical services are not a part of the cost of war, as the Veterans of Foreign Wars holds and reason dictates, but somehow come under the umbrella of human resources. In effect, therefore, the head of the Veterans' Administration must now report to the head of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare regarding these veterans programs. This is an outrageous department and one which must be changed before the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare takes over all veterans programs and scatters them throughout the executive branch of the Government.
During the 92d Congress the Veterans of Foreign Wars supported H.R. 9265, a bill to authorize expanded care and treatment of drug dependent veterans. H.R. 9265, the provisions of which are embodied in H.R. 1910 by Congressman John P. Saylor of Pennsylvania, contains the proper and traditional manner to treat a veteran who needs assistance; namely, in the Veterans' Administration hospital system. The Veterans of Foreign Wars is hopeful H.R. 1910 will receive early, favorable consideration by your committee.
I would like to digress for one moment on a matter of tremendous importance to our membership, which is not the primary responsibility of this committee. I am referring to bills pending in this Congress which would grant amnesty to draft dodgers and deserters, who fled to foreign countries to avoid military duty in our Armed Forces. The Veterans of Foreign Wars believes now that the war is over, these draft dodgers and deserters should be prepared to suffer the consequences for their crimes. Our members are opposed to amnesty today, tomorrow, and forever.
Other bills which are of great interest are proposals to have Veterans Day restored to November 11. If there is any one particular day in this country which is symbolic of the contribution made by veterans who served in the Armed Forces during wartime-it is November 11.
That day has been recorded forever in our history. The Veterans of Foreign Wars believes that that day, November 11, should be restored as Veterans Day. We are hoping that the 93d Congress will approve this priority objective of our organization.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, may I again express my sincere gratitude for this opportunity to appear before this distinguished committee.
It is our hope that each of you will be with us tonight at our annual congressional banquet at the Sheraton Park Hotel. We will be honoring one of your distinguished colleagues, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Service, the Honorable John C. Stennis of Mississippi. He will be the 10th recipient of our Veterans of Foreign Wars Congressional Award for outstanding service to the Nation. The dinner will begin promptly at 7 p.m. with a reception beginning at 6 p.m.
[The documents to be incorporated at the end of the statement follow :]
Millions of veterans are returning from service in the Vietnam conflict. There are now over 28 million veterans. Together veterans with their families there are about 100 million persons almost half of our population. Since the days of George Washington and the founding of our Republic, grateful Congresses have granted rights, benefits and assistance to returning veterans in recognition of the extra sacrifice in the national interest made by those citizens who wore the uniform during time of war or great national peril. Today United States veterans programs are unmatched by any other nation in the world.
World War II veterans represent about half of the veteran population or approximately 14 million. Surprisingly to many there are now over six million Vietnam veterans who represent the second largest group. Close behind are veterans of the Korean conflict, who represent about 5.9 million. There are about 1.3 million World War I veterans and only 3,000 Spanish-American War veterans still living. The membership of the Veterans of Foreign Wars represents veterans of all of these wars, or, if deceased, their survivors. Consequently, mandates approved by the delegates to our National Conventions are representative of a broad range of interests, concerns, and goals regarding veterans and veterans programs, rights and benefits.
While the number of veterans in our society has sharply increased during the Vietnam era, the cost of veterans benefits has remained constant. While the total number of dollars being spent for veterans programs has sharply increased in recent years, the cost, as compared to the total Federal budget and outlays, or when compared against other yardsticks, such as the gross national product, indicate expenditures for veterans benefits have remained constant.
Most of the additional dollars are directly traceable to the cost of the Vietnam War or inflation. For example, the GI Bill, which will train about two million Vietnam veterans in 1973, will be about $2 billion. Much of the increased cost in veterans hospital and medical care is the result of the crippling injuries received by Vietnam veterans who require long periods of sophisticated and expensive medical and rehabilitative