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This Committee could conduct important studies and research projects and evaluate existing programs, in order to obtain maximum benefits for the blind. Among them would be how effective is the public assistance program for the blind, how we can improve their benefits under the social security and disability insurance programs, the role of the Federal Government and that of the State governments in aiding the visually handicapped people of this country.
In the 84th and 85th Congresses I had introduced bills to give the blind full coverage under our social security laws. I am currently revising that bill and will shortly introduce it, in the hope that Congress will extend this coverage to the blind.
In the meantime, I urge you to give serious consideration to my bill, H.R. 3129 and the bill by Congressman Matthews, which are in my estimation a sound step in the right direction to aid the blind in a manner which is most effective and logical.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C., March 10, 1959. Hon. CARL ELLIOTT, Chairman, Subcommittee on Special Education, Committee on Education and Labor, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN : Coordination and proper evaluation of all aspects of assistance programs are essential if we Americans are to obtain full benefit from the plans which we establish to help one another.
I have cosponsored the legislation introduced by my colleague from Florida, the Honorable Billy Matthews, to create a National Advisory Committee for the Blind. I agree with my colleague's qualified and thoroughly considered view, that this is a field which could benefit greatly from the recommendations for more coordinated services and uniform standards for our blind programs.
The studies and efforts contemplated in this measure are most worthy. The many dedicated citizens who have contributed time, funds, and energy on a public and private basis would be further encouraged by the establishment of this Committee and the needs of those with visual handicaps would be more adequately met. I hope the committee will act favorably on this proposal. Respectfully submitted.
DANTE B. FASCELL,
Member of Congress. Statement in support of legislation for the establishment of a temporary National Advisory Committee for the Blind.
PETERSBOROUGH, N.H., March 5, 1959, Re H.R. 356. Hon. CARL ELLIOTT, Chairman, Subcommittee on Special Education, Committee on Education and Labor, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.
DEAR SIR: About 25 years ago, it became necessary for me to give up my business career because of serious eye problems. In 1942 I became totally blind. At that time I did not know of any available services for the blind. While endeavoring to adjust to my new situation, the desire developed in me to dedicate myself to work in the interests of blind people as far as I was able. Shortly afterward, I undertook teaching in a school for blind children, and after that became executive director of a voluntary statewide agency for the blind. After 10 years of service in the latter position, I was advised to retire because of a heart condition.
I know that blind people have to contend with many problems, and that there are inadequacies in the services which endeavor to meet these problems. I be lieve that only a careful study by a representative presidential commission of the many phases of the problems of blindness, can result in adequate remes dies. Therefore I am strongly in favor of H.R. 356, introduced by you, OD similar bills proposing such a study. Yours sincerely,
WILLIAX MCGREAL P.S.-Will you kindly incorporate this letter in the record of your committee's wings.
Mr. ELLIOTT. Having said that, let me say to you, my friends, that the subcommittee will stand adjourned until 2:15 p.m., when we will meet again in the regular hearing committee room of the Committee on Education and Labor at room 429, Old House Office Building.
(Whereupon, at 12:45 p.m. Friday, March 13, 1959, the subcommittee adjourned, to reconvene at 2:15 p.m., in room 429, Old House Office Building, the same day.)
The subcommittee reconvened at 3:55 p.m. in room 429, House Office Building, Hon. Carl Elliott (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding
Mr. ELLIOTT. The subcommittee will be in order.
Unofficially I have an announcement to make which I regret to make very much. That is that we will not be able to have any hearings this afternoon. The reason for that is that the House has just decided to take up four additional bills this afternoon.
Under the rules of the House, we can only sit during general debate, and not during the amending phase of the consideration of a bill, if special permission is granted. The periods of general debate this afternoon are going to be so short on these next four bills, apparently, and apparently running not more than maybe a few minutes on each bill, that the situation looks rather hopeless insofar as holding hearings is concerned.
As I say, I regret that, but that has been a rule of the House for a long, long time. There is nothing I can do about it.
If there is any person here who has to leave, who has a written statement that he would like to have in the record, if you would give it to Mr. Charles Backstrom of the committee staff, he will see that I have it when we meet on Monday morning, and we will put it into the record.
Monday we will meet at 10 o'clock.
We have several witnesses who desire to be heard Monday. Again, I will be called upon to do something that I do not like to do. That is that we will have to limit the hearings on Monday, the time allotted to witnesses, at least to some extent.
The list, as I have it, indicates that we have six, and possibly seven, witnesses on our Monday schedule. We will have Mr. Schloss, Mr. Keane, Dr. Cummings, Mr. Sherman, and Mr. Walker, whom we will not be able to hear today.
With that statement, I am sure you will work with me to help us get as far along Monday as we can. I had originally hoped to finish these hearings on Monday. I am not at all sure now that we will be able to finish Monday, but we have other matters scheduled for the rest of next week, so if we do not finish the hearing on the blind bills on Monday, then we will go over for the remainder of them to another date, to be fixed later, perhaps within 2 or 3 weeks, or in some manner that will accommodate as best we can under the circumstances that we operate under, other witnesses.
I want to cooperate with you as much as I can. I want to hear every one of you. I wish we had time to hear every witness in full,
The meeting Monday will be in room 219, the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee hearing room.
EDUCATION AND ASSISTANCE TO THE BLIND
If some of you feel you cannot come back Monday, if you have statements, give them to Mr. Backstrom or Miss Allen and we will get them into the record.
(Whereupon, at 4 p.m., the subcommittee adjourned, to reconvene at 10 a.m. Monday, March 16, 1959, in room 219, House Office Building.)
EDUCATION AND ASSISTANCE TO THE BLIND
MONDAY, MARCH 16, 1959
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met at 10:15 a.m., pursuant to recess, in room 219, Old House Office Building, Hon. Carl Elliott (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Elliott, Giaimo, Green, Daniels, and Lafore.
Present also: Representative Bailey.
We are happy this morning to have testify before the subcommittee the gentleman from Ohio, Mr. Jackson Betts, who will testify with respect to his bill, H.R. 4787.
Îou are recognized, Mr. Betts, and may proceed in any manner
you see fit.
STATEMENT OF HON. JACKSON E. BETTS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF OHIO
Mr. BETTS. Mr. Chairman, as you mentioned, I introduced H.R. 4787, which I understand is one of more than 50 bills under consideration by your committee for the purpose of providing consultation with blind organizations in the administrative process of Government.
I wish to state to the chairman and the committee that I introduced this bill at the request of some of my blind friends in my district, whose judgment I respect very highly, after I had discussed this problem with them. Since I understand that there are other bills of this nature, and I assume you have heard testimony on these bills, I would be very happy if I could just submit my statement at this time for consideration of the committee.
Mr. ELLIOTT. Without objection, the statement of the gentleman from Ohio will be extended at this point in the record.
Mr. BETTS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
STATEMENT OF JACKSON E. BETTS, MEMBER OF CONGRESS, OHIO, ON BEHALF OF
H.R. 4787 Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, my name is Jackson E. Betts, and I represent the Eighth District of Ohio. I appreciate the opportunity to speak briefly on behalf of my bill H.R. 4787, which I understand is
1 of more than 50 bills under consideration by this committee for the purpose of providing consultation with blind organizations in the administrative process of government at all points where their vital interests are affected.
Some of my blind friends whose judgment I respect have discussed this problem with me and asked that I introduce this bill. The views I express herein represent the thinking of these persons.
The Congress has in the past provided ways of assisting the blind men and women of America by adopting legislation to aid them in their financial need and to increase employment opportunities through rehabilitation. These programs are administered in the various States on a Federal-State cooperative basis. A substantial part of the money for these programs is Federal money. It appears to me that these programs would more clearly meet the problems of the blind if administrators would at all times seek the advice of and consult with all possible persons and groups of persons possessing knowledge and experience that would advance these programs toward the goals intended by Congress. I am advised, however, that this is not being done. The blind themselves—the beneficiaries of these welfare programs-are not being consulted either directly or through their chosen spokesmen.
The first provision of the bill which I and others have introduced would correct this. It directs that the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare advise and consult to the fullest extent practicable with authorized representatives of organizations of the blind in the formulation, administration, and execution of programs of aid and rehabilitation for the blind.
The bill further provides that State agencies using Federal funds in their programs for the blind shall be encouraged to consult with the blind of their State on matters of policy and procedure in connection with these programs.
This provision of the bill directing that the blind be consulted on matters which concern them does not deny to any other person or group the right to make their views known on these same subjects. No source of help and assistance should be overlooked or neglected when policies and programs of such vital importance are involved.
The first section of the bill is not intended as a criticism or censure of the fine work and tireless service rendered by numerous individuals and agencies engaged in work for the blind. All that the provision comprehends is that the view's of the blind themselves not be ignored.
Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, it is my earnest hope that you will see fit to act favorably upon H.R. 4787 and similar bills so that the right of blind Americans to organize and to be consulted may be protected from all future encroachments.
Mr. Elliott. We are happy to have the privilege of having the gentleman from West Virginia, Mr. Bailey, the chairman of the Subcommittee on General Educational Problems, of the House Committee on Education and Labor.
May I say to my friend from West Virginia that we are very happy to have him and that he may proceed in any manner that he sees fit.
STATEMENT OF HON. CLEVELAND M. BAILEY, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA
Mr. ELLIOTT. Mr. Bailey, will you tell us who the gentlemen are who are accompanying you!
Mr. BAILEY. Mr. Chairman, gentlemen of the committee, for the purpose of the record I am Congressman Cleveland M. Bailey of the Third West Virginia District. This morning I am accompanied by Mr. C. C. Cerone of Wheeling, W. Va., State Chairman of the Association of the Blind of West Virginia, on my left.
On my right is Victor Gonzalez, mayor of Anmoore, W. Va.
At the conclusion of my formal statement each of these would like to make a very brief statement.
Mr. ELLIOTT. The gentleman from West Virginia may proceed.