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war the Congress appropriated a great deal of money in outright subsidies, not only in contingent liabilities for war workers. The American Legion feels that the Congress can do
The CHAIRMAN. We never spent 19 billion dollars.
Mr. ALESSANDRONI.-No less in its appropriation of funds for vet
The CHAIRMAN. Then, the position the American Legion takes is they want this Congress at this session to obligate the Federal Government, in contingent and actual, to the extent of 19 billion dollars in this field of endeavor; is that it? Is that your understanding?
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. I am trying to explain that the chairman's attempt to show the total cost over a number of years does not give the correct picture of the situation.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, there is 5 billion dollars in S. 866. There is no question about that, is there? As a matter of fact, there are 6 billion dollars in S. 866. There is no question about it. It is not a contingent liability. It is an actual liability.
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. If you multiply it by the number of yearsThe CHAIRMAN. That is what you have got to do. are doing here.
To whom did the American Legion submit this? submit it to the State Department?
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. H. R. 4488?
The CHAIRMAN. No; S. 866.
That is what we
Did they ever
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. Do you mean to the American Legion's departments?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, who made up the mind of the American Legion to the effect that they wanted S. 866?
Mr. ALESSANDRON. I do not think
The CHAIRMAN. A moment ago they had not made up their mind on it. Now. I want to find out who in the American Legion is now sponsoring S. 866, whether it is the rank and file, whether you ever passed upon it at a National Convention, or at a State conventionwho in the American Legion now is coming out and telling us that they want S. 866 passed.
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. Under the operation of the American Legion, at its last National Convention, resolutions favoring the passage of the Taft-Ellender-Wagner bill were propsed. At that time the resolution to approve the Taft-Ellender-Wagner bill was not approved. That placed the Legion in the position of saying-and the reasons it was not approved were not the many reasons given by various groups, but the reason it was not approved was that it did not sufficiently take care of veteran priorities, and not the various excuses of public housing, and the others, that have been given. It was because that bill did not provide sufficiently for veterans' housing
Mr. COLE. May I interrupt? How do you know that was the reason they voted against it?
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. Well, I was a member of the committee. The CHAIRMAN. Was there not a committee appointed at that time
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. May I answer this question first, Mr. Chairman? The CHAIRMAN. Was not the committee appointed in substitution of the Committee on Resolution to approve the Taft-Ellender-Wagner
Mr. ALLESSANDRONI. Well, now, I am going to have difficulty. The CHAIRMAN. You are going to have difficulty unless you tell us who in the American Legion is approving this bill.
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. I am very happy to do that, but I cannot do it if I am going to be asked two or three questions and not be given the opportunity to complete my replies.
The CHAIRMAN. Go ahead. I would like an answer to my question which I asked you some time ago, and to which I have not yet had
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. As a result of that, the American Legion went on record as not favoring the sponsoring of that resolution, or several resolutions, in favor of the Taft-Ellender-Wagner Bill. In the interim, the National Housing Committee of the American Legion determined, by resolution which was approved by the National Executive Committee, that H. R. 4488 should be made a part of S. 866. If the Congress was going to pass an omnibus bill, the Legion said, "We want, as part of that omnibus bill, the provisions for which we have provided in H. R. 4488."
The CHAIRMAN. Do we understand that to mean that you have never approved, then, the provisions of S. 866? That if we strike out all after the enacting clause in S. 866, and write a new bill, that you want the provisions of H. R. 4488 included? Perhaps I am mistaken. From my reading of the newspapers, I got the impression that the American Legion had approved S. 866. Perhaps you have not.
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. Well, I am surprised that a Congressman would depend on what he read in the newspapers. The Legion is here today to testify explicitly, and the resolution speaks for itself.
The CHAIRMAN. Say specifically, then, whether the American Legion is for S. 866 as it is now written or not.
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. The American Legion has no mandate on S. 866 with no consideration of H. R. 4488.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the position, then, of the same people who are asking us now to tack H. R. 4488 onto S. 866? What is the position of that executive committee with respect to the provisions of S. 866? That is what I thought you were going to testify to here.
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. The executive committee, by resolution which was approved by the national executive committee, states that S. 866, with the various amendments that were introduced by Senator Flanders of Vermont, together with H. R. 4488, is a piece of legislation which the American Legion is for.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, which of the amendments offered by Senator Flanders? Senator Flanders has offered a substitute bill for the original Wagner-Ellender-Taft bill.
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. As the bill now is up for consideration before your committee as passed by the Senate.
The CHAIRMAN. Then, we can get an answer to the question. The executive committee of the American Legion wants us to pass S. 866 as it was passed in the Senate; is that right?
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. No; that is not right.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, that is just what you have said. You have said you are for the Flanders amendments and S. 866 is the Flanders amendments. You had better go back to your executive committee and find out what you are doing here before you come before this committee,
because the Flanders amendments to the Wagner-Ellender-Taft bill now constitute S. 866. You said you were for the Flanders amendments. Now, are you for S. 866 and is the American Legion recommending that this committee report out, in its present form, S. 866? Mr. ALESSANDRONI. The American Legion is recommending that this committee amend S. 866 as passed by the Senate with the addition
The CHAIRMAN. Now, wait a minute. Do not evade the questionI do not think you intend to-but we know very well-you have made it very clear-you want us to amend S. 866 by including H. R. 4488. Now, I am asking you if the American Legion has taken a position in favor of the provisions of the present S. 866.
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. You mean standing alone, free and clear from everything else?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; that is right.
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. My answer to that is what I just said a moment ago. We go back to the time of our last national convention. At that time the Legion said it was not veterans' housing, therefore, we would not be for or against it.
The CHAIRMAN. All right. Now, if H. R. 4488, then, is not included in S. 866, we understand that the American Legion's position is the same with respect to S. 866 as it was at the time of the convention, that it is not a veterans' housing bill, and, therefore, standing alone, the American Legion is not for it; is that right?
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. Not that it is not for it, but it is neither for nor against it, because it is not germane to the functions of the Legion, which is to be for veterans' housing.
The CHAIRMAN. You said they did not take any action on it because they did not consider it of any assistance to the veterans.
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. That is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. So you are not for it because it is not a veterans' bill; is that correct?
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. That is correct.
Mr. NICHOLSON. May I ask a question?
The CHAIRMAN. I think we have cleared it up very nicely.
Mr. NICHOLSON. Might I ask what the vote was in the executive committee with respect to supporting this bill?
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. The American Legion's national executive committee?
Mr. NICHOLSON. Yes.
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. Unanimous, representing every department in the American Legion.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any provisions in S. 866 that you want to discuss in particular?
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. No; except that one that the Colonel already mentioned, and which the chairman already inquired about-the 42 percent. We have a special mandate on that question. The report of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, which held extensive hearings over the past 4 or 5 months, is complete in itself, and we are hopeful that the members of this committee will give due consideration to it.
The American Legion stands ready at any time to discuss the details of it, and will return. to answer any questions that the committee might have.
The CHAIRMAN. I want to say that the American Legion housing committee has been of inestimable help to this committee in the
months gone by and we did not want you to go into the practice of doing a superficial job on this legislation, because you have done a splendid job in the past, and that is why the questions we have asked here were asked, to put you on guard that the executive committee of the American Legion, when they present a resolution, had better know what they are talking about. You have always done that in the past. You have done a splendid job before this committee, and we do not want you to get slipshod in the manner in which you discuss and consider this legislation and present it to this committee.
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. We do not think we are guilty of that, sir. The CHAIRMAN. I am sure that you do not intend to be, because you have been very helpful to us in the past.
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. And I think it is well to reiterate that those who use the Legion as being opposed to the Taft-Ellender-Wagner bill in its present or past form, are changing the real intent of the Legion, both by its last convention mandate and by its present policy. That is unfortunate. The Legion should not be used in that way.
The CHAIRMAN. I personally never thought the American Legion had taken a position for or against it, as you have said here today, and I have checked the attitude on the part of the people who said that the American Legion was opposed to this bill, because I have always asked them wherein the American Legion had ever taken a definite position on this bill. That is correct, is it not?
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. That is correct, and we now say that if we take an omnibus bill, such as this one, and pass it, that part of that should be specific veterans' housing legislation. We ask that at this time, which we think is the appropriate time, that that be made a part of the bill, as you give consideration to it.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there further questions of Mr. Alessandroni? Mr. SMITH. Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Dr. Smith.
Mr. SMITH. Why do you advocate the passage of S. 866?
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. Is that your question, sir?
Mr. SMITH. Yes.
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. We do not come here advocating the passage of S. 866. We come here asking that you amend S. 866 by adding to it the provisions of the Veterans' Homestead Act, H. R. 4488. Then, in its complete form, to give it consideration as an omnibus bill.
Mr. SMITH. What is the problem of the veteran with respect to housing.
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. The real problem of the veteran today is, even though great strides have been made in the number of homes erected, that there are insufficient homes in his price category for him to be able to participate with other people, and his greatest need is for rental housing. The Legion's housing committee for some time felt that its efforts should be directed toward home ownership of each individual veteran, because unquestionably its aid to family life, and to the stability of the veteran, would be great. We have found that veteran groups are composed of the greatest floating population today. The veteran is at school, he is newly married, it is a new family. He is not certain as to where his job will be, and he does not want to tie himself down. So we feel that the number one aid that can be given to the veteran is for rental housing at the price he can afford, and, secondly, for the purchase of housing at a price he can afford.
Mr. SMITH. His problem, then, is lack of housing, is it not?
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. That is correct.
Mr. SMITH. Is it your idea that S. 866 will add to the number of houses?
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. I do not think there is any question about that. Certainly it would add to the number of houses.
Mr. SMITH. You do not think there is any question about that? Mr. ALESSANDRONI. Not the slightest. There may be some question about the number, or the cost.
Mr. SMITH. Have you read the bill?
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. Yes, sir.
Mr. SMITH. It provides for demolition of an equal number of houses, does it not, or about an equal number, to that being constructed under the program?
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. Is the Congressman referring to the public housing or the redevelopment section of S. 866?
Mr. SMITH. I am referring to title VI of S. 866, in connection with the redevelopment program, title V, of course.
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. The demolition of houses, under the public housing section, will be done at a later date. The re-development section, I am afraid, will have to wait until such time as the houses which they wish to demolish are no longer needed for occupancy. Mr. SMITH. When does the demolition begin, then?
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. The Congressman is now directing questions at me which are primarily concerned with S. 866 by itself, and I have tried to express that the Legion's position is; that is, S. 866, when added to it, special provisions for veterans' housing, becomes a truly omnibus bill for the population, and then a fit and proper bill for passage by the Congress.
Mr. SMITH. Does the fact that you hook these together change the provisions of S. 866 which have to do with replacement of housing, and not the construction of additional housing?
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. The addition of H. R. 4488 would have no effect upon the present provisions of S. 866. It does not amend any of the present provisions. It merely adds to them.
Mr. SMITH. But it does not alter the fact that title V of S. 866 does not provide for additional housing, does it?
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. Well, I think it does.
Mr. SMITH. You think it does. What does the law say on the point? Mr. ALESSANDRONI. I think S. 866 says that it will provide for housing. How many it provides for and
Mr. SMITH. Now, I asked you the specific question: additional housing, or replacement housing.
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. I think it provides for both.
Mr. SMITH. To what extent does it provide for both?
Mr. ALESSANDRONI. I do not know how I can express it in any other way. It is my belief, in answer to your original question, that S. 866 will provide housing. Nobody can tell the exact number nor the exact cost. S. 866, with H. R. 4488, will provide additional housing, and the additional housing over and above that will be provided for veterans only.
Mr. SMITH. Title VI of S. 866 will provide additional housing?