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The item for this same construction, which is included in H. R. 1665, should be eliminated from that bill. That bill is the general Army housing bill for 1932. It authorizes the new construction for which appropriations will be requested for that fiscal year. The item in question is out of place in that bill as it does not pertain to the new housing program but covers reconstruction of a previously existing building destroyed by fire. It should be handled in a separate bill as an emergency measure, so that funds may be obtained as soon as possible, and without reference to the limitations in housing funds set up for the fiscal year 1932.
It is estimated that the cost of the bill, if enacted into law, will be $50,000.
If any further information from the War Department is desired by your committee I shall be pleased to furnish it, and suitable witnesses will be designated to appear should hearings be held.
This report has been submitted to the Director of the Bureau of the Budget, who advises that it is not in conflict with the financial program of the President. Sincerely yours,
James W. Good, Secretary of War. O
Mr. PATTERSON, from the Committee on Military Affairs, submitted
ITo accompany H. R. 63381
The Committee on Military Affairs, to which was referred the bill (H. R. 6338) authorizing the erection of a sanitary fireproof hospital at the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers at Togus, Me., having considered the same, report favorably thereon with the recommendation that it do pass.
The merits of the bill are set forth in the House report thereon, which is made a part of this report, and reads as follows:
The Committee on Military Affairs, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 6338) authorizing the erection of a sanitary fireproof hospital at the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers at Togus, Me., introduced by Mr. Nelson of Maine, having considered the same, report thereon with the recommendation that it
UNANIMOUS REPORT ON CONDITIONS CONSTITUTING A MENACE AND AN EMERGENCY
This measure to authorize the erection of a sanitary, fireproof hospital of a capacity of 250 beds at the Eastern Branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers at Togus, Me., has the unanimous indorsement of the subcommittee which first considered it and of the full committee which now favorably reports it to this House. The evidence adduced at the hearings on this proposed legislation is conclusively to the effect that conditions existing at this Eastern Branch of the National Home constitute a most serious menace to the lives of the veterans of three wars now hospitalized at this institution, and create an emergency that should be met by immediate remedial legislation.
EASTERN BRANCH, A PERMANENT INSTITUTION
This Eastern Branch was the first National Soldiers' Home to be established in the United States, and was built shortly after the Civil War. It has facilities for the care of from 1,500 to 2,000 men. On December 31, 1929, there were domiciled at this institution: Civil War veterans..
115 Spanish War veterans.
466 World War veterans...
576 Of late years, in common with all the branches, the population at the Eastern Branch has steadily increased. This branch will be needed for many years to
come. Based on the most authoritative estimates, the population of these homes will double in the next 20 years.
The original hospital unit at this branch was constructed over a half century ago, and has been added to from time to time, the last addition having been made over 25 years ago. It is largely of frame construction, apparently without fire stops of any kind, and so planned and built that a fire originating in any part of the structure would endanger the life of every inmate. Ninety-four per cent of the patient capacity of the hospital is of this frame construction, three wings being three stories high, and a fourth two and a half stories. This frame hospital is surrounded by 20 other large wooden buildings, the nearest of which is but 40 feet distant. Twelve of these wooden buildings are within 100 yards of the hospital, constituting a further and serious fire menace, These buildings are in the country, at a long distance from the nearest city fire protection. This hospital building is unsafe, unsanitary, unsuitable for hospital use, and renders the proper care of the patients difficult, and the preservation of their safety impossible.
The demands upon this hospital have been and are steadily increasing. In 1929 the average members sick at this branch, in the hospital and in quarters, was 353. On November 30 last there were 109 World War veterans alone hospitalized at this institution. Partly because of the many Civil War veterans in this hospital, an average of 25 or 30 per cent of its inmates would come under the category of absolutely bedridden patients who would be utterly helpless in case of fire. To these should be added a large number of mental cases. The conditions existing here show a striking similarity to the intolerable conditions, now remedied, which once existed at the Pacific Branch at Sawtelle, Calif.
It is apparent that a fire originating during a high wind in this hospital, or in any of the frame buildings surrounding it, would sweep through the various wards with tremendous speed. The results of such a fire to the blind and helpless defenders of this Nation, bedridden, perhaps in a third-floor ward, is disturbing to contemplate. That such a holocaust may never ocur is the object of this legislation.
FIRE OF NOVEMBER 29, 1929 On November 29, 1929, at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, a fire broke out in this hospital, and partially destroyed one wing. Because of favorable conditions and the fact that all officers and inmates were available for evacuation purposes, all patients were removed without loss of life. This fire, however, has sounded a warning that can not, in safety and honor, be disregarded by those responsible for the lives and welfare of these veterans. The destruction caused by the fire adds to the emergency then existing.
ADDITIONAL GENERAL HOSPITALIZATION FACILITIES NEEDED IN THIS AREA
Not only does the safe and proper conduct of this institution require a sanitary and fireproof hospital at Togus, but there is a crying need for further general hospitalization faclilties for World War veterans in this section. There is no Veterans' Bureau hospital in Maine, none in New Hampshire, and none in Vermont. Two-thirds of the Maine veterans are hospitalized outside the State, and some 43 mental cases are being cared for at their own expense at various State institutions. The necessary and proper requirements of this large northern area indicate a modern hospital at the Eastern Branch. This in addition to the institutional needs of the branch itself.
The immediate need for this hospital is attested to by Gen. George H. Wood, president of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers; Coi. Ben Lear, of the Inspector General's office of the War Department; and Robert M. Tolson, representing Watson B. Miller, chairman of the national rehabilitation committee of the American Legion.
THIS HOSPITAL NEEDED WHATEVER CONSOLIDATION PROGRAM ADOPTED
Whatever legislation may result from the President's recommendation to Congress that all veterans' agencies be consolidated, and whatever program may be adopted, there is an immediate need for this hospital at the Eastern Branch, and that need will continue unchanged whatever bureau or establishment may ultimately have charge of the institution.
Mr. STECK, from the Committee on Military Affairs, submitted the
[To accompany S. 23]
The Committee on Military Affairs, to which was referred the bill (S. 23) to regulate the procurement of motor transportation in the Army, having considered the same, reports favorably thereon with the recommendation that it do pass.
This bill is proposed by the Secretary of War, and his letter, dated March 28, 1929, to the chairman of the Senate Committee on Military Affairs explaining its purpose is made a part of this report and reads as follows:
Washington, March 28, 1929. Hon. DAVID A. REED,
Chairman Committee on Military Affairs, United States Senate. DEAR SENATOR REED: I submit herewith the following draft of a bill which I request be introduced in the Senate and enacted into law:
A BILL To regulate the procurement of motor transportation in the Army “Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That hereafter, in procuring motor vehicles for the public service, the Secretary of War is hereby authorized, within any price limitations fixed by Congress, to award the contract to the bidder that the said Secretary finds to be the lowest responsible bidder offering to furnish the motor vehicles that will in the judgment of the said Secretary, most advantageously meet the requirements of the Government."
The applicable provisions of existing law on the subject appear in section 3709, Revised Statutes, which are quoted below:
"All purchases and contracts for supplies or services, in any of the departments of the Government, except for personal services, shall be made by advertising a sufficient time previously for proposals respecting the same, when the public exigencies do not require the immediate delivery of the articles, or performance of the service. When immediate delivery or performance is required by the public exigency, the articles or service required may be procured by open purchase or contract, at the places and in the manner in which such articles are usually bought and sold, or such services engaged, between individuals."
The changes that will be brought about in existing law by the proposed legislation and the effect of such changes, stated briefly, are as follows:
It will remove from review and restriction, by the Comptroller General of the United States, those parts of specifications and contracts dealing with the types and standards of motor transportation to be procured and which the War Department has determined are the best for the needs of the service.
I favor the passage of this bill for the following reasons:
Under the existing law controversial issues have arisen between the War Department and the office of the Comptroller General over the propriety of requirements imposed by the War Department in its specifications for the purchase of motor vehicles. Decisions have tended to restrict action and have rendered it impossible to take advantage of the experience gained by military motor transport agencies and technical experts.
Interpretation of existing laws by the office of the Comptroller General interferes with selection and adoption of types of tested vehicles as standard or as substitute standard, which is essential to efficient and economical administration of motor transport operation. The question of the necessity for the adoption of standards for the various types of motor transportation to meet the peculiar needs of the Army is extremely important, especially when the problem of maintenance, the accumulation and issue of spare parts, and the training of soldier personnel for repair and operation of the various vehicles are considered. Without control of this question, each procurement adds another type to those already on hand, carrying with it complications of increased stocks for repairs, difficulties in issuing parts when vehicles have become scattered throughout the Army, and training of men to take care of new types. Operation under the present difficulties is uneconomical and not as efficient as it would be if the restrictions were removed by passage of the proposed legislation. Relief appears to be possible only through legislation along the lines proposed.
The bill does not authorize the expenditure of any Government funds.
A similar request is being made to the House of Representatives Committee on Military Affairs.
If any additional information from the War Department is desired, I shall be pleased to furnish it.
If the Committee on Military Affairs wishes to have hearings upon the proposed legislation, the following-named officers are designated to appear before your committee: Brig. Gen. Francis H. Pope, Assistant Quartermaster General, and Maj. L. H. Campbell, Ordnance Department. Sincerely yours,
JAMES W. Good, Secretary of War. O