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situation, and we have legislation and so forth to take care of these people, but then they must choose to serve in other capacities, they must work in hospitals, serve the Nation that protects them in some capacity, so, therefore, I agree completely with President Nixon in his very strong and vigorous opposition against granting general amnesty. What do we have here! We have a situation where these people did not choose to fight. They did not choose to serve, but they chose to run, and having chosen to run, they must now face the consequences of their act.
I also note, on page 12, your reference to 200,000 Vietnam veterans who now seek employment, and this number, of course, will go up. I agree we must make a concerted effort to do all we can to place these men and women in gainful occupations, and I introduced legislationwe have 55 bipartisan cosponsorships—which will tend to encourage the employment of veterans as legislation provides for tax credits to employers who hire Vietnam veterans. There is a 25-percent tax credit if they hire a POW. This is the area where we must get some special effort and concern because of the particular situation, and if they hire the handicapped veteran, there is a 25-percent tax credit. If they hire the veteran in the skill in which he is trained, that is, if you have an engineer, you hire him as an engineer, and not as a carpenter, then the employer will receive a 15-percent tax credit. I think legislation of this type will help, to some extent, to see that we have proper employment opportunities for these men that have done so much for us. They also feel that because of the nature of the Vietnam war, without going into the argument of justification or not justification, the particular type of conflict, perhaps unusual, others, and therefore, I think we must make a special effort to recognize those that have served, a special effort. Therefore, I have introduced legislation which will provide that we have a national day of recognition in 1973 to honor those who have served, especially those who have not returned, which is over 50,000. I have chosen the day of May 11, as a day of national recognition, and prayer for these men and women who have not returned. The reason I have chosen May 11 is in that week America lost its greatest number of fighting men, 562. I hope, if this legislation succeeds, and we have 55 cosponsors, it will focus the attention of this on those men who have done so much to serve the Nation, and its principles.
Let me say again, I pledge to work with you in every effort to carry out general principles of your legislative program.
Thank you very much.
Mr. Dorn. Thank you. I want to present Lester Wolff from New York, who has been most helpful to the committee.
Mr. WOLFF. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Commander, I commend you on the excellence of your statement. However, I want to make one thing perfectly clear. The OMB is responsible to and is a representative of the President of the United States and, if they are not, you should get rid of them, we should get rid of them.
dow, we heard talk here this morning about a speech the President made last year. I think we are more interested in what the actions are this year, in that connection. I think it is important to understand where we can find some money if we need to find some money to take care of veterans' needs. First of all, it has been said there is going to be some who will not vote for any money for North Vietnam until such time as our men are home. I was joined by some 220 colleagues last session of Congress, and supported as well by the VFW, to try to collect some of those debts owed to us for World War II. We are owed $14 billion from nations throughout the world while they continue to attack our dollar, and I think it is about time we tried to collect from them as well.
It has been alluded to here before, Mr. Commander, but I think I would be remiss if I didn't challenge the conclusions of the latest Ralph Nader's research report on the Veterans’ Administration and VA hospitals. Mr. Nader's conclusion that the VA is concentrating too much on the needs of our older veterans at the expense of our younger Vietnam returnees strikes me as callous. Because the wounds of Vietnam are so fresh, it is obvious that national attention should be directed at helping our younger veterans. I do not argue with the assumptions Nader makes in this area. Certainly we all know that our system has in many ways caused difficulty and hardship for a number of men in seeking postdischarge care. We should be seeking new ways to assure that these men who have given so much are recognized and served by the full range of health care that this Nation can muster, but it is with the conclusion Mr. Nader's group makes, that the VA is offering too much care to our veterans of past service, that I differ strongly. The task of this country is to assure that the care for all who have served is of the fullest and highest quality possible. How can we say because a man served and suffered injury 20 or 30 or 50 years ago that he is no longer entitled to continued care? How can we take the position that, while a man can make a lifelong sacrifice in an instant, our Nation should deny him full benefits for that contribution as he gets older and probably is even more in need of care than before ? And how can anyone seriously argue that, because the system has shortcomings as to certain areas, we should force the system to abanJon all.
I do not believe either the health needs of this Nation or the veteran will be served by destroying the veterans hospital system. We need veterans hospitals for special care and we need to care for the health needs of all Americans, not by cutting out the veterans hospital as Mr. Nader's group recommends, or by cutting out hospital construction as the President has recommended in killing off Hill-Burton, but by giving more assistance because more is necessary.
Mr. Dorn. Thank you, Mr. Wolff. Mr. Hammerschmidt.
Mr. HAMMERSCHMIDT. It is my pleasure to introduce Jim Abdnor from South Dakota.
Mr. ABDNOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
year on the Veterans Committee, and I am extremely proud to have been fortunate enough to have been made a member of this committee. As far as I am personally concerned you can rest assured the veteran will never become a second-class citizen because of anything I might do on this committee. We are extremely proud of the VFW in South Dakota. They can hold their own with any State in the Union with VFW organizations. I would like to recognize two former national commanders, one my good friend, Ray Galligher. We are really proud of him in South Dakota. He has been speaking out for a strong America and the veterans, and we are awfully proud of him. I have already lent my name to a couple of bills I know are of great concern to your group. One of them was mentioned on one of those 100 sponsors on Mr. Dorn's bill, and Congressman Hillis, and also I will be participating on other bills of interest to the veterans. I stand ready and able to hopefully do what I can to work for what I think is one of the No. 1 groups of this country, our veterans, more so today than ever before with those hundreds and thousands of boys now coming back that are going to need care and attention. I am sure this committee and this Congress is going to be very sympathetic to them.
Thank you very much.
Mr. Dorn. I wish to thank all of my colleagues and thank you, Mr. Commander, and again I would like to commend all of you veterans for your emphasis on the youth of America, and in particular, I wish to commend you and your colleagues over the years for the Voice of Democracy contest. These are the finest young people in the world.
committee stands adjourned. [Whereupon, at 12 noon, the committee adjourned.]
LEGISLATIVE RECOMMENDATIONS OF VETERANS'
DAV LEGISLATIVE PROGRAM
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21, 1973
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C. The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:30 a.m., in room 345, Cannon House Office Building, Hon. William Jennings Bryan Dorn (chairman) presiding.
Chairman Dorn. The committee will come to order.
We are very happy to have with us this morning the Disabled American Veterans and their distinguished national commander, who will present his recommendations to the committee.
Before we begin, I do want to present to you, Commander, and to your colleagues who are here, the members of our committee and I will ask them later on for some comments, but at the moment I would like to present them to you.
We do have a caucus going on in the House of Representatives at the moment so the attendance that you have here is very good under the circumstances. - I am going to present Mr. Helstoski here, from New Jersey.
Would you stand, please, Henry? [Applause.]
And as you know, Mr. Commander, our committee is probably the most nonpartisan committee that you could possibly get together in this country anywhere because I do not really remember a great issue concerning veterans that has ever been voted upon in a partisan manner by the committee.
And I am happy to present to you our minority leader, John Hammerschmidt, who will introduce those on his side of the aisle. [Applause.]
Mr. HAMMERSCHMIDT. It is my pleasure to present to you first a man who really needs no introduction to you because he was ranking member on this committee for a long time. He had to give up that post to assume the ranking member post of the House Agriculture Committee, Charles Teagne from California. [Applause.]
John Zwach, from the Sixth District of Minnesota. [Applause.] Elwood Hillis from the Fifth District of Indiana. [Applause.] Jim Abdnor from the Second District of South Dakota. [Applause.] Bill Walsh from the 33d District of New York. [Applause.]