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In closing, the Disabled American Veterans wants to commend you for your statement of support for programs to enhance employment opportunities for veterans, when you appeared before the Senate Labor and Public Welfare Committee. We look forward to mutual cooperation leading to improvements in the delivery of effective employment services to all veterans, especially disabled veterans. We also await your first annual report to Congress regarding the quality and quantity of employment assistance to disabled veterans, as required by Section 2007, Public Law 92–540. Sincerely,

JACK 0, Hicks,

National Commander, Enclosure.

Survey of disabled Vietnam-era veterans Number contacted

23, 807 Responses

4, 638 Percent

19 Employed

2, 173 Percent

47 Unemployed

2, 460 Percent Want jobs

3, 322 Percent

71 Number requesting ES assistance_

2, 552 Number commenting on ES service

1, 172 Education : Less than high school.

556 High school graduate_

1, 992 Some college

1, 504 College graduate

580 Currently under the GI bill.

990 Chapter 31

535 Not in school..

3, 113 This survey was conducted by the DAV during the months of January and February 1973.

All respondents who have requested employment assistance will be contacted by local Veterans Employment Representatives of the Public Employment Service to whom their questionnaires will be mailed.

Chairman Dorn. I want to take this opportunity to join you in commending your wonderful staff, who work with the Congress here and help us in drafting legislation and representing the Disabled American Veterans. The entire staff do a superb job.

I want to present the members, for any comments they care to make.

Mr. Helstoski is the chairman of our Subcommittee on Education and Training. He is tremendously interested in the Vietnam veteran and education benefits for him.

Mr. Helstoski.
Mr. HELSTOSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Mr. Commander.
I want to thank you for your very cogent statement.

I was very much interested in your observation as to the percentage of Vietnam veterans that vou have in your organization as national service officers. This identifies the Disabled American Veterans program as one that reflects the needs of the DAV veterans today.

I want to say that I will oppose any downgrading of veterans' benefits and will support you in reaching your legislative goals and objectives which you discussed here this morning. They are certainly reasonable ones.

My congratulations to you, your Ladies' Auxiliary, and the membership of the DAV. [Applause.]

Chairman Dorn. Thank you, Mr. Helstoski.

We have one other member on our left that I will present before I present Mr. Hammerschmidt.

Again, I want to say that on our side of the aisle we do have a Democratic caucus this morning and therefore somewhat of a conflict.

Next we will hear from Congressman Lester Wolff from the great State of New York. [Applause.

Mr. WOLFF. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Commander, I want to commend you on a hard-hitting statement. It is about time we did have some hard-hitting thoughts.

I, with you, disagree with the statements that have been made by OMB. However, I want you to understand that even with the statements that have been made by the President as to the fact that he disagrees with the OMB, that study is still going on, as you knowthe question of the disability rating schedule.

It seems strange to me that in a day in which there is civilian activity and there are disabling events that occur as a result of the civilian activity, we would even give consideration to cutting the benefits to our disabled veterans.

It seems to me, as well, that it is a debt that can never be repaid to the guys that rendered the service to this Nation.

Now, I would say, however, that in the question of the job program I do not know whether or not you are familiar with the Kerschner report that was made for the Labor Department relative to the activity of the Labor Department in securing jobs, particularly in the area of disabled veterans.

It seems to me the report, which was kept from public scrutiny since June, indicates the fact that the Labor Department has not been able to do the job and this is an outside source that is making this study. And inasmuch as the Labor Department has not been able to do the job, I think that it is about time that, even though you have been somewhat critical of the VA, we direct the attention and the efforts of the activity for finding jobs for Vietnam veterans, and especially disabled veterans; that we change over the function from the Labor Department to the Veterans' Administration.

I think that we will get a much greater concentration on the needs that occur for veterans if we had it centralized in the Veterans' Administration.

I want you to also know that Mr. Satterfield, who is chairman of the Subcommittee on Hospitals, is determined, from the statements that he has made in the past, that he will not permit a deterioration of the veterans' hospitals, and that we also will see to it that, even though Mr. Nader's report came out and said that he would like to see ultimately the veterans hospital program phased out into a system of national hospitals-I, for one, as a member of this committee, will not see the veterans' hospitals phased out in this country. [Applause.]

They perform a special purpose and they are needed and will be needed in the future to a greater extent.

One final thing, Mr. Chairman. I do agree, having had a boy in Vietnam, that the emphasis must be placed on our returning Vietnam veterans. But that does not mean that we have to in any way dilute the assistance that must be given to the veterans of other wars. [Applause.] The arms have not grown

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On this basis, Mr. Commander and Mr. Chairman, although our other members of the Democratic side are not present here this morning, but are at a caucus, I am sure that they would voice similar sentiments.

We will cooperate with you in every way possible. Thank you. [Applause.]

Chairman Dorn. I want to commend the members on my right for their splendid attendance this morning and for their cooperation in making this the greatest committee, I think, in Congress.

I am now going to present to you John Hammerschmidt, who will in turn present the members on my right.

Mr. HAMMERSCHMIDT, Commander Hicks, I commend your organization for its steadfast adherence to your singleness of purpose—the welfare of the disabled veteran, his dependent and the survivors of our war dead. Your statement today reflects your continuing concern for this deserving group and I commend you for it and I commend you for a very excellent statement.

I share many of your apprehensions. For the record, while you are here, I would like to discuss briefly with you this morning some of those apprehensions and some of the views that I have.

Of course I know about your views on the rating schedule. I cosponsored H.R. 4763, a measure that will require congressional review of any proposed revision of the rating schedule.

As you know, under this bill either House would have 90 days within which to adopt a resolution of opposition, thus killing the proposed revision.

Incidentally, I am convinced that President Nixon was unaware of the impact of the proposed changes upon individual disabilities. When the matter was brought to his attention by your organization and the members of this committee, the President immediately directed that the proposed revision be withdrawn.

And I can assure you that this committee will be vitally interested in and will place a great deal of confidence in those findings by your experts in the field of disability ratings, those six national service officers that are truly experts.

While we are speaking of experts, I want to express my appreciation for Chet Huber and the other members of his staff for the fine service they perform for you and for us here in Washington. I share your concern over the reduction of the average daily patient census from 82,000 to 80,000. I want to discuss the whole story with you because I think there is more to this story.

I think that there are some pluses in the budget, and I think for the record they should be mentioned. For example: the medical care appropriation is projected to increase by $114 million during fiscal 1974. The number of patients treated in VA hospitals will increase by 28,000 over the current year.

Out patient medical visits will increase by almost 2 million over the current year. The average daily census in VA nursing care beds will increase from 6,361 to 6,700 patients. And then, on page 13 of your statement, I quote from it:

The 1974 VA budget reflects a $5.8 million reduction for medical and prosthetic research ...

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In reviewing the justification for this cut in the budget, I find with respect to medical and prosthetic research that the budget documents state, and I want to quote from it:

The budget authority for 1974 decreases $5,818,000 from the 1973 level. However, total obligations for 1974 of $78.4 million represents a program increase of about $212 million over the 1973 level.

The budget document goes on to say that increasing obligations of $2,534,000 * * * will permit coverage of additional need in the ongoing programs, as well as initiation of new research endeavors.” I agree

that you are correct in your statement that the budget_request for research is a little over $5 million less than last year. But it would appear that the current budget request, together with these carryover funds, will make available a $212 million increase in the amount for research over the amount appropriated in 1973.

I just wanted to call your attention to that from the budget document. Then, very briefly, I want to also state that I share your apprehen

I sion about veterans hospitals. I am totally, of course, on your

side on that issue. But I want you to know that I feel the President is on our side also, because I quote from his statement made at the dedication of a hospital in Columbia, Mo., last year. And I would like to quote this for the record :

Fulfilling the nation's obligations to its veterans is a matter of justice and national honor. Meeting their medical needs is one of our greatest national priorities. To insure that they are met, I intend to maintain and reinforce the independent system of Veterans Administration health care facilities when and as required.

So that is, I think, a very heartening statement from our Chief Executive, President Nixon, and I hope the Bureau of the Budget takes good notice of what he said in Columbia, Mo.

Again, I want to thank you.

Mr. Chairman, I want to recognize Cecil Stevenson who is here from Arkansas.

It is delightful to have Cecil, a past national commander, here with I would now like to reintroduce Mr. John Saylor from Pennsylvania. [Applause.]

Mr. SAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and Mr. Hammerschmidt.

In one sense I am going to do a little bragging and in another sense, I am going to do some complaining. I have served here in Congress long enough to have served under five Presidents and I have heard every one of them make high-sounding praise with regard to our veterans.

Presidents come and Presidents go at the end of their terms, but the Office of Management and Budget goes on forever. [Laughter and applause.]

Some of those same people from OMB that were down complaining about Harry Truman's budget when I first came here are complaining about Nixon's budget now. And I have heard some of them say, “We will be here when the Members of the Congress who are up there trying to handle veterans' affairs are all gone.”

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Therefore, it is incumbent upon your organization to do something that was stated as necessary many centuries ago: you must win these battles again and again and again. Because the first time you relax, and the first time your organization and its service officers and your members think they have won the battle, still lurking back in the 'woods are those worms in OMB. [Laughter and applause.]

Let me give you an example of just how they have been working.

The members of your organization and Chet Huber were here when this committee finally passed a bill. And this is what the Congress said:

This survey was conducted by the DAV during the months of January and tacted by local Veterans Employment Representatives of the Public Employment to establish and operate not less than one hundred and twenty-five thousand hospital beds in facilities over which the Administrator has direct and exclusive jurisdiction for the care and treatment of eligible veterans who are tuberculosis, and neuropsychiatric, medical, and surgical cases.

When this committee passed that bill, your organization, and every other veterans' organization, cheered. We now have a floor under which we can build our hospitals. But the boys in OMB have been nibbling away every year.

The average daily patient census in 1962 was 110.884. In 1967, it was down to 103,393. Then it went to 97,000 and then it went to 91,000. Then it went to 85,000 and then it went to 82,000.

And now those boys in OMB have you down to 80,000 average daily patient census. Meanwhile, the Veterans’ Administration publishes its figures every year, and they point with pride to the fact that they have treated more veterans in those beds than they have treated in any other

year. If they can treat more patients in a year with an average daily census of 80,000 than they have ever done before, think what they would do if they had 125,000 beds in operation. [Applause.]

Commander, I commend you for your statement, on page 10, because you told it like it's been. These people in OMB have been working ever since the rating schedule was established in 1945, and they have been studying it to death and they have been trying to find ways to cut it. And some want to cut it out completely.

All I can tell you is that I would like to take some of those people down at OMB, who never smelled gunpowder when it was coming back- -[Applause.]

It is a great thing to get out on that firing range and fire your artillery and your other guns and all the rest, with nobody shooting back at you. But I can tell you that everyone in your organization knows that there is-pardon me, ladies-a helluva lot of difference when

— you are sitting out there and somebody else is throwing it back at you. [Applause.]

So, commander, I want to congratulate you and your organization. I commend you for the action that you have taken in seeing to it that so many of our returning Vietnam veterans are in your organization. And I certainly hope that, as you expand your service organization, more will be given the opportunity to participate. [Applause.]

Mr. HAMMERSCHUMIDT. My great senior member, Mr. Saylor, is always very reluctant to express his opinion. [Laughter.]

It is my pleasure to introduce Mr. Charles Teague of California. [Applause.]

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