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to replenish such State funds for vocational rehabilitation and enable such work to be carried on without interruption.
(a) Loans shall be made on pro rata basis of population, and not less than 25 per centum of such loans must be used by States obtaining loans for vocational rehabilitation in rural areas.
(b) The sum of $10,000,000 is hereby authorized to be appropriated out of the Treasury, from funds not otherwise appropriated, to establish said fund, and loans may be made from the fund, by the States, immediately after the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1949.
(c) States obtaining such loans shall pay interest at the rate of 2 per centum per annum to the Federal Government, to amortize cost of operaation of the revolving loan fund.
(d) States subscribing to such loans shall repay, in full, within thirty days after adjournment of State legislatures which have met following consummation of such loans.
(e) The fund shall be administered by the Administrator of the Federal Commission on Services for the Physically Handicapped, under such rules and regulations as he may prescribe. ! (f) The Administrator is hereby authorized and directed to appoint such staff and assistants as may be required to operate the fund, and report, in detail, upon operation of the fund, including a statement of all receipts and disbursements, to the President and to Congress, at the beginning of each regular session of the Congress.
TITLE VII–UNITED STATES CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION
SEC. 701. There is hereby established in the United States Civil Service Commission a Division for the Physically Handicapped, with a chief, and such staff as may be required. It shall be the duty of the Division to deal with problems attendant upon the recruitment, examination, and appointment of physically handicapped applicants for employment in the Federal civil service, It is declared to be the policy of the Congress that no citizen, otherwise qualified, shall be denied the right to examination and appointment by reason of physical disability.
SEC. 702. The expense of the operation and administration of the Division for the Physically Handicapped shall hereafter be included in the regular appropriations for the Civil Service Commission. Such sums as are necessary for the establishment and operation of the Division are hereby authorized to be appropriated.
TITLE VIII-AID TO THE BLIND
SEC. 801. Operations under this Act shall continue present aids to blind, through commissions, bureaus, or divisions for blind now established. Benefits now received by the blind shall not prejudice nor debar the blind from seeking or receiving such additional benefits as may be made available under this Act, nor shall anything in this Act be construed as abolishing or limiting any benefits now received by the blind.
TITLE IX-PROMOTION OF PUBLIC SAFETY PROGRAMS SEC. 901. The Commission is authorized and directed to cooperate with all Federal agencies in devising and arranging proper safeguards to life and limb in public buildings, public institutions, and public parks, and assisting in the development of programs to eliminate conditions tending to promote disease or cause injury, on Federal properties.
(a) The Commission shall collaborate and cooperate with the Public Buildings Administration, and assist in planning proper assignments of safety engineers and sanitary engineers, who may, with the consent of the agency having jurisdiction, at the direction of the Pụblic Buildings Administration, inspect and report on any and all buildings used by the Federal Government.
(b) The Commission may also cooperate with the American Institute of Architects and other interested groups and individuals, with a view to having public and other buildings constructed or remodeled, with ramps, in addition to stairs and/or elevators, and with railings to facilitate the free and safe movement of lame and crippled persons.
TITLE X-REPORTS ON HANDICAPPED FROM FEDERAL AGENCIES
SEC. 1001. The United States Public Health Service, United States Bureau of Mines, United States Coast Guard, Interstate Commerce Commission, Civil Aeronautics Administration, and other Federal agencies which may now receive, as a regular part of their functions, reports upon persons disabled through accidents or disease, in local, State, or regional epidemics of disease, or in disasters in mines, sinking or disabling of ships, railroad accidents, and aviation crashes, shall transmit to the Federal Commission on Services for the Physically Handicapped a report upon such epidemics, or accidents, and, as far as may be possible or practicable, submit the names and address of those severely disabled by reason of such epidemics or accidents, as soon after such occurrences as may be possible.
TITLE XI-GENERAL PROVISIONS Sec. 1101. The term “States”, as used in this Act, means any of the States of the Union; also Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia.
Sec. 1102. For the purpose of administering this Act and for the purpose of making the investigations, studies, publications, and reports herein provided for, including cost of personal services in the District of Columbia, and elsewhere, stenographic recording and translating services, including such services rendered on a contractual basis, without regard to section 3709 of the Revised Statutes; traveling expenses for attendance at meetings when specifically au. thorized by the Administrator, supplies and equipment, purchase and exchange of medical and reference books, directories, periodicals, newspapers, and press clippings; purchase, operation, and maintenance of motor-propelled vehicles; print: ing and binding (in addition to that otherwise provided by law), and for all other necessary expenses in carrying out the proviisons of this Act, there are hereby authorized to be appropriated for each fiscal year such sums as the Congress may determine to be necessary.
Sec: 1103. The provisions of this Act shall not apply and the Government shall not be liable for claims in the cases of persons who are adequately provided for financially, by means such as the following:
(1) Recovery of large amounts on suits for damages in personal-injury cases.
(2) Payment of special compensation for injury or disease, covered by State laws, or by special Federal enactment.
(3) Other conditions under which disabled persons are provided adequate compensation and assistance.
SEC. 1104. If any provision of this Act, or the application thereto to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the Act, and the application of such provisions to other persons and circumstances shall not be affected thereby.
SEC. 1105. This Act shall be known as the "Federal Aid to the Physically Handicapped Act”.
SEC. 1106. All laws or parts of laws in conflict with this Act are hereby repealed. Sec. 1107. This Act shall be effective ninety days after date of enactment.
We will hear first from Mr. William J. Pachler, Secretary-Treasurer of the Utility Workers Union of America, CIO.
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM J. PACHLER, SECRETARY-TREASURER,
UTILITY WORKERS UNION OF AMERICA, CIO Mr. PACHLER. My name is William J. Pachler and I am SecretaryTreasurer of the Utility Workers Union of America, CIO. I am appearing before you to express emphatic support for the bill to establish a Federal Commission of Services for the Physically Handi·capped, and it is my honor and privilege to appear as official spokesman for the Congress of Industrial Organizations and the 6,500,000 American men and women whom it represents.
As working people we know from bitter experience what it means when the breadwinner is stricken and is thus unable to earn a living
and, likewise, the tremendous loss of family income which is entailed when any member of a working family, be it a child or an adult, suffers from injury or disease. Most tragic of all to the American family is the plight of the person who faces a permanent physical handicap throughout life. So vital are the problems of our mil. lions of physically handicapped citizens to all of us that it is not surprising that the Congress of Industrial Organizations, which with its members and their families represents more than 25 million American people, has supported since its very inception the vital necessity of restoring our physically handicapped neighbors to usefulness. As a consequence, it is natural that the CIO should endorse a broad program which would establish a comprehensive undertaking to aid our physically handicapped rather than to allow this problem to remain solely in the hands of private charity and pitifully inadequate public aids.
The Congress of Industrial Organizations is participating actively in the constant effort to minimize industrial and other accidents. Our 40 affiliated international unions are alerted down to the last shop steward and member to the urgency of accident prevention measures. Yes, despite human vigilance, accidents do and will continue to occur; their magnitude, I am sure, will be discussed with others and the exact figures portraying the millions left physically handicapped in their wake will also be presented.
As union men and women it is our responsibility, and it is society's responsibility, to render every possible aid to restore the physically handicapped to the performance of their past duties, if that is possible, or to prepare them to fulfill other suitable jobs if this should be necessary. The inhuman and uneconomic wastage of the lives of our physically handicapped citizens must be ended.
We all know that the various State rehabilitation services have neither the funds, facilities, nor the trained personnel to do this essential job. Enactment of this bill, we believe, will show at last that the Congress of the United States of America recognizes the full magnitude of this tremendous social problem and is ready to mobilize in a battle to meet it.
We direct the attention of the committee to one significant fact. From 1939 through 1948, an average of 2,000,000 men and women were injured in industry alone each year, and of that number approximately 100,000 were permanently disabled. Reports from the Office for Vocational Rehabilitation for the same period indicate an average of less than 30,000 were rehabilitated each year. This discrepancy speaks for itself. We understand that the Office for Vocational Rehabilitation is currently claiming that double this number is now being rehabilitated, but this number still is much too small and it inevitably involves assistance primarily to those who are less severely disabled
Now is the time to coordinate the functions of all of our Federal activities which touch on the welfare of the physically handicapped into a new and united Federal agency, and to vastly expand its services. This is the intention of this bill through the establishment of a Federal Commission of Services for the Physically Handicapped. It is our belief that the Commission should appropriately be associated with the United States Department of Labor since the greatest numbers of those to be served will be wage earners.
We heartily approve of the suggested Advisory Council on Affairs of the Handicapped. All citizens groups must be brought into participation in the solution of the problems of the handicapped. To highlight this problem to the American people through the National Employ the Physically Handicapped Weeks is not enough. America must be aware of this problem 52 weeks in every year and the direct and continuous participation of representative citizens groups in the daily problems of the physically handicapped is a splendid forward step.
The Federal Inter-Agency Committee on Rehabilitation and Employment of the Handicapped goes to the very root of present efforts to effect economy and more efficiently in our Federal Government. This Committee would be a forward step in determining what each department is doing for the handicapped—the results, the costs, the plans for the future. I am sure your committee will heartily approve this phase.
The National Commission on Employment of Handicapped, which would be composed of organizations and individuals outside of Government in order to encourage employment of the handicapped, is a logical and necessary part of this new service. We have all applauded the magnificent contributions of the physically handicapped to production during the war effort. Yet, when industrial booms subside the physically handicapped, like members of minority racial and religious groups and the older workers, are too often the first to be displaced. The proposed Commission completes the cycle of services for the physically handicapped because what is the use of expending millions of dollars in treating, training, and counseling the handicapped unless a secure job is the end result?
Cooperative enterprises for the handicapped is a logical and necessary development. The Congress must now face the fact that we must provide a special means for the handicapped to earn a living in those instances where they cannot obtain one through employment in competitive enterprises. Not only in humanity, but because it would save the taxpayers millions of dollars, these citizens who seek only an opportunity to make their own living in a suitable enterprise which utilizes their talents and abilities must be given a chance. Here is a case where if a subsidy is requred we should all pay it cheerfully, knowing that it will put people to work who otherwise would have to be supported in idleness and unproductivity.
Grants to States for aid to the totally disabled, unfeasible for rehabilitation is also essential. Here, we know, is a new departure. Yet, it would be but a simple act of justice on the part of this Government to afford these people—many of them in the direst poverty and suffering from lack of medicines, treatment that may, if nothing else, allay pain for a time—food, shelter, clothing, and nursing care. No one could pretend that $60 per month would meet all these requirements, but it would be most helpful. And, this does not prevent the States from adding to the amount but simply establishes a Federal base of $60.
We insist that Services for Handicapped, the agency for rehabilitation in question, have primary jurisdiction in this field, rather than public assistance. We point out that today, too much of this field has been preempted by public assistance, which, as a charity proposi
tion, is not necessarily concerned with the vital aspects of rehabilitation. The difference, Mr. Chairman, between Services for Handicapped and public assistance is the difference between a means of producing wealth, conserving human and other resources, and aiding the Nation to maintain its economic equilibrium, whereas public assistance, however necessary it may be otherwise, is simply a hand-out proposition.
The great need for educational grants to nonfeasible cases is at once apparent when we consider the fact that the great field of rural rehabilitation has barely been touched on an over-all basis. Many of those in remote rural areas, not located conveniently as to schools, have handicapped children and even adults for whom we must devise and apply a special but common-sense method of education and training We must bring these things to the bedside or to the wheelchair.
During the past 2 years, in particular, the defects of the present Federal-State system have been very marked, particularly in the matter of States having exhausted their appropriation for rehabilitation, and although their_officials and employees of rehabilitation bureaus are paid from a Federal appropriation, there has been very little money in hand for case work, in a majority of States, for many months. While some States' constitutions prohibit their borrowing, yet if we are to avoid an ultimate one-way set-up, and improve the present system, we must approach this realistically and provide a means whereby States may borrow from a revolving fund when their own funds are exhausted. As stated, some States are prohibited from this, but there is nothing to prevent their amending their State laws so as to permit such loans, and there is no question as to their need and value.
Divisions for handicapped in the United States Civil Service Commission, aid to the blind, promotion of public safety programs, reports from Federal agencies on the handicapped, and the general provisions of this bill are all consistent with progress and good sense.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, we ask that your committee unanimously endorse this bill and that the whole committee report it out favorably and work for its immediate passage. From any point of view this bill makes sense. It is an appeal from the handicapped themselves for hope for the future. It does not request a hand-out. It reflects the need which neither the individual, his family, nor his home community or State can meet alone to provide the means whereby the overwhelming majority of our handicapped citizens can be restored to useful and self-respecting employment.
We hear so much these days about initiative and free enterprise; let us in the best sense of the word now do something about them, because the human cry for passage of this bill comes from so many millions who ask but so little help in order that they may use their initiative in useful pursuits and participate in the great enterprise of American life. There are so many physically handicapped and they have suffered already so much-certainly it would appear that the most powerful and richest nation in the world could afford the cost of the services envisaged in this bill, which would total far less than the cast of one battleship.
On behalf of the Congress of Industrial Organizations and the millions of physically handicapped citizens and their families, we