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The Veterans' Administration would have no objection to the enactment of the bill,

Advice has been received from the Bureau of the Budget that there would be Do objection to the submission of this report to the committee. Sincerely yours,

H. V. HIGLEY, Administrator.

EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT,

BUREAU OF THE BUDGET,

Washington, D. C., March 29, 1956. Hon. J. PERCY PRIEST, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, House of

Kepresentatives, New House Office Building, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This is in reply to your letter of May 10, 1955, Tequesting the views of the Bureau of the Budget with respect to H. R. 6111, a bill to amend section 22 of the Interstate Commerce Act with respect to the transportation of certain disabled persons. The Bureau of the Budget would have no objection to enactment of H. R. 6111. Sincerely yours,

PERCY RAPPAPORT,

Assistant Director.

INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION,

Washington, June 10, 1955. Hon. J. PERCY PRIEST, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,

House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. DEAR CHAIRMAN PRIEST: Your letter of May 10, 1955, addressed to the chairman of the Commission and requesting a report and comments on a bill, H. R. 6111, introduced by you, to amend section 22 of the Interstate Commerce Act with respect to transportation of certain disabled persons, has been referred to our Committee on Legislation. After careful consideration by that committee, I am authorized to submit the following comments in its behalf :

Section 22 now permits, among other things, the carriage, storage, or handling of property free or at reduced rates for the United States, State, or municipal governments, or for certain charitable purposes, and the transportation of persons for the United States at free or reduced rates. It also permits the issuance of mileage, excursion, or commutation tickets, and authorizes the giving of reduced rates to specified persons connected with religious, charitable, or governmental organizations, as well as Armed Forces personnel, and free transportation by railroads to their employees. In addition, it permits any common carrier to transport any totally blind person accompanied by a guide or seeing-eye dog or other guide dog specially trained and educated for that purpose at the usual and ordinary fare charged to one person, under such reasonable regulations as may have been established by the carrier. The provisions of section 22 are made applicable to motor common carriers by section 217 (b), to water common carriers his section 306 (c) and to freight forwarders, as to transportation or service in the case of property, by section 405 (c).

H. R. 6111 proposes to amend section 22 by inserting in the first sentence thereof, after the words “or other guide dog specially trained and educated for that purpose", a comma and the following new provision : "or from carrying a disabled person accompanied by an attendant if such person is disabled to the xtent of requiring such attendant."

Since the provisions of the clause which H. R. 6111 would amend are permissive in nature, enactment of the bill would not require the carriers to transport a disabled person accompanied by an attendant for one fare. The proposed amendment would merely authorize the carriers to do this, just as the present law authorizes the carriers to transport various classes of persons and property free or at reduced rates. The position of the carriers would appear to be further protected in this connection by reason of the present provision of the act, which is now applicable to the provision authorizing the transportation of totally blind persons accompanied by a guide or seeing-eye dog for one fare, and which would apply to the proposed provision, stating, in effect, that such privilege may be accorded by the carriers "under such reasonable regulations as may have been established by the carrier.”

The question of whether or not Congress should authorize the carriers to transport a disabled person accompanied by a required attendant for one fare is a matter of congressional policy on which we take no position. Respectfully submitted.

RICHARD F. MITCHELL,

Chairman,
OWEN CLARKE,
Committee on Legislation.

VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION,

Washington, D. C., April 6, 1956. Hon. J. PERCY PRIEST, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,

House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. DEAR MR. PRIEST: This is in further reply to your request of March 29, 1956, for a report on S. 1777, 84th Congress, an act to amend the Interstate Commerce Act in order to authorize common carriers to carry a disabled person requiring an attendant and such attendant at the usual fare charged for one person, as passed by the Senate on March 26, 1956.

The purpose of the act and the language which it would insert in section 22 of the Interstate Commerce Act (49 U. S. C. 22) are identical with H. R. 6111, 84th Congress, on which a report was furnished to your committee by the Veterans' Administration on March 30, 1956. The report on H. R. 6111, in which it was indicated that the reduction in fares proposed by that bill would result in şubstantial savings of travel expenditures by the Government for certain disabled veterans, is equally applicable to Senate 1777. As stated in that report, the Veterans' Administration would have no objection to the enactment of the bill.

As noted in the report on H. R. 6111, advice was received from the Bureau of the Budget that there would be no objection to the submission of the report to the committee. Sincerely yours,

H. V. HIGLEY, Administrator,

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION, AND WELFARE,

Washington, D. C., April 19, 1956. Hon. J. PERCY PRIEST, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,

House of Representatives. DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This letter is in response to your request of March 29, 1956, for a report on Senate 1777, to amend the Interstate Commerce Act in order to authorize common carriers to carry a disabled person requiring an attendant and such attendant at the usual fare charged for one person.

This bill would amend section 22 of the Interstate Commerce Act (49 U. S. C.) so as to permit carriers, under such reasonable regulations as they may establish, to carry for a single fare a disabled person together with a necessary accompanying attendant. This privilege now exists in the case of blind persons accompanied by a guide or guide dog.

This Department has no special competence in respect to rates for transportation. As a general observation, however, it appears to us that there is considerable justification for affording severely disabled individuals who require an attendant the same privilege of having both carried on one fare as is presently afforded the blind. However, since disablement, other than blindness, exists in varying degrees and is a highly individualized condition, serious difficulties would be encountered in any attempt to administer this proposal on a uniform and equitable basis.

In view of these difficulties and the question of the relationship of this proposal to the rate structures of carriers, we defer to the views of the Interstate

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We thank your committee for its interest and courtesy, Mr. Chairman, and rely upon your sense of fair play and equity to see that our severely handicapped citizens are not further discriminated against in this matter.

I call special attention to the report of the Senate-here it is--and the bill

. The slight amendment has really changed this proposition from railroads to common carriers.

I urge that your committee adopt this bill because I think it is a better bill.

I thank you. Mr. WILLIAMS. Thank you, Mr. Strachan. Mr. STRACHAN. It is the same bill. Mr. WILLIAMS. Does the bill mention the word “railroad” specifically! I presume that section 22 must, as it applies to the blind, be confined to railroads? Mr. STRACHAN. Yes.

Mr. WILLIAMS. I would like to ask you, sir, first, if this legislation would require that the carriers grant this concession to disabled persons, or is it permissive legislation?

I do not have a copy of section 22 in front of me and that is the reason I have to ask that.

Mr. STRACHAN. It is permissive, Mr. Chairman, because past law started this way. The Congress laid down and the Interstate Commerce Commission used as an example the predicate for this bill or other bills, but the proposition must be approved by individual agencies, railroads, for example, plane service, ships, and the like.

In other words, this is purely a permissive bill.
Mr. WILLIAMS. That answers my question.

Mr. STRACHAN. The Senate report here shows that very clearly but the Interstate Commerce Commission has already informed the Senate that it has no objection to the bill.

Mr. WILLIAMS. Would this be equally applicable to the case of aged persons who, by reason of age alone, require an attendant !

Mr. STRACHAN. I can only answer your question, Mr. Chairman, by giving an individual opinion. I feel that we entered into a new field with this. There is a pretty good understanding of the necessities and lacks on the part of the blind. My own feeling is this:

I know that more than 60 percent of our aged citizens are possessed of some chronic ailment or disability. I do not believe at this time that I would want to ask Congress to make a specific limitation, because the only place, as you well know, that we could find a definitive lineup of disability ratings would be in the Veterans' Administration.

Very well, if that be true, where is the dividing line? Who is sufficiently handicapped and who is not?

I think, Mr. Chairman, we would be on safe ground to pass this bill as it is and let our organization go through the channels with the Interstate Commerce Commission and see what develops from there. If we have any trouble with the elderly citizen who may be severely crippled, then we can always come back to Congress and give the picture a cross Mr. WILLIAMS. I would like to say to those here, on behalf of our chairman, Mr. Priest, that he asked me to express his regret at being unable to be here to conduct these hearings personally as he had planned, due to the fact that a bill which has been reported out of our committee is awaiting action of the House floor, and it is impossible for him to leave at this time.

Therefore, we will proceed with the hearings until he is able to join us, if that is possible, later in the afternoon.

The first witness is Mr. Paul A. Strachan, National President, American Federation of the Physically Handicapped.

Mr. Strachan?

STATEMENT OF PAUL A. STRACHAN, NATIONAL PRESIDENT.

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF THE PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED. WASHINGTON, D. C.

Mr. STRACHAN. Mr. Chairman, today our presentation to your committee will be brief. We know that often verbosity is used to hide lack of facts and evidence.

In this case, we shall rest on the fact that today's laws respecting transportation of severely handicapped persons on common carriers are unjust and highly discriminatory, because, although, through the generosity and kindness of the Congress, and with approval of ICC and other agencies at interest, some 275,000 blind are permitted to ride on approximately half fare, yet there are approximately 9 million severely handicapped who certainly should have equal claim to this benefit, but do not.

In short, Mr. Chairman, why should a person who may be afflicted by cerebral palsy, cardiac troubles, arthritis, amputations, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, hemiplegia, quadriplegia, paraplegia, poliomyelitis, osteomyelitis, Buerger's disease, rheumatism, or any of the various diseases, results of injuries, or congenital defects or deformities which cause a condition necessitating the individual so afflicted to have an attendant, not be given the same privileges as the blind have enjoyed these past several years!

And I remind you there are, as stated, some 9 million and more severely handicapped who are from 60 to 100 percent physically disabled.

It must be understood, Mr. Chairman, that the Senate has already passed this bill, and its approval by your committee, and passage by. the House, would not remove all barriers at once because this bill is simply a door opener and, if enacted, means that we must petition the ICC, Maritime Commission, Civil Aviation Board, and perhaps other agencies representing common carriers, and urge their approval, likewise. But the bill is essential, in any event.

Mr. Chairman, I am authorized by our great friend and the de. voted champion of the handicapped, the Honorable John W. McCormack, majority leader of the House, to inform you that he unreserved. ly supports this bill and hopes you will press for its passage.

We ask that the committee, in justice and humane spirit, will approve this bill and see that it is passed at this session of Congress.

We thank your committee for its interest and courtesy, Mr. Chairman, and rely upon your sense of fair play and equity to see that our severely handicapped citizens are not further discriminated against in this matter.

I call special attention to the report of the Senate-here it is-and the bill

. The slight amendment has really changed this proposition from railroads to common carriers.

I urge that your committee adopt this bill because I think it is a better bill.

I thank you.
Mr. WILLIAMS. Thank you, Mr. Strachan.
Mr. STRACHAN. It is the same bill.

Mr. WILLIAMS. Does the bill mention the word “railroad” specifically? I presume that section 22 must, as it applies to the blind, be confined to railroads?

Mr. STRACHAN. Yes.

Mr. WILLIAMS. I would like to ask you, sir, first, if this legislation would require that the carriers grant this concession to disabled persons, or is it permissive legislation?

I do not have a copy of section 22 in front of me and that is the reason I have to ask that.

Mr. STRACHAN. It is permissive, Mr. Chairman, because past law started this way. The Congress laid down and the Interstate Commerce Commission used as an example the predicate for this bill or other bills, but the proposition must be approved by individual agencies, railroads, for example, plane service, ships, and the like. In other words, this is purely a permissive bill. Mr. WILLIAMS. That answers my question.

Mr. STRACHAN. The Senate report here shows that very clearly but the Interstate Commerce Commission has already informed the Senate that it has no objection to the bill.

Mr. WILLIAMS. Would this be equally applicable to the case of aged persons who, by reason of age alone, require an attendant ?

Mr. STRACHAN. I can only answer your question, Mr. Chairman, by giving an individual opinion. I feel that we entered into a new field with this. There is a pretty good understanding of the necessities and lacks on the part of the blind. My own feeling is this:

I know that more than 60 percent of our aged citizens are possessed of some chronic ailment or disability. I do not believe at this time that I would want to ask Congress to make a specific limitation, because the only place, as you well know, that we could find a definitive lineup of disability ratings would be in the Veterans' Administration.

Very well, if that be true, where is the dividing line? Who is sufficiently handicapped and who is not?

I think, Mr. Chairman, we would be on safe ground to pass this bill as it is and let our organization go through the channels with the Interstate Commerce Commission and see what develops from there. If we have any trouble with the elderly citizen who may be severely crippled, then we can always come back to Congress and give the picture a cross

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