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WW11 Merchant Mariners Fight 4 Equity

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Excerpt”

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-merchant-marines-sw-zone-23sep23,0,7717454.story

Merchant mariners hope Congress passes bill in their honor

By Emma Graves Fitzsimmons

September 23, 2009

 

The "Belated Thank You to the Merchant Mariners of World War II Act of 2009" has passed the House but is still being reviewed by the Senate's Committee on Veterans Affairs. The bill would establish a fund to pay a $1,000-a-month stipend to about 10,000 surviving members of the Merchant Marine who served between 1941 and 1946. It would cost $120 million the first year and less each subsequent year because many merchant mariners, who are reaching their 80s and 90s, die each year.

More than 250,000 served in the Merchant... But because they worked for private shipping companies on civilian-owned ships, they were not considered veterans and so were not able to access the GI Bill and other veterans benefits after the war. It took a long legal battle to win classification as veterans in 1988.

"It took 43 years after the war for us to be classified as veterans so that we could get a flag on our coffin and we could be buried at Abraham Lincoln (National) Cemetery," he said, referring to the VA cemetery in Elwood...

~~~~~~~~~~

He's hoping for a thank you

 

By NICK WERNER • nwerner@muncie.gannett.com • October 10, 2009

 

About 250,000 merchant mariners volunteered for service between 1941 and 1946, shipping troops, jeeps, oil and other crucial supplies across the Pacific and Atlantic. ….

According to the American Merchant Marine Veterans organization, more than 1,500 Merchant Marine ships were sunk and 9,400 Merchant Mariners were killed, resulting in the highest casualty rate of any service branch during World War II.

But because the mariners worked for private shipping companies on civilian-owned ships, the government did not grant them veteran status, at least not immediately… while soldiers and sailors received tuition assistance, Veterans Administration home loans and preference in hiring through the GI Bill and other government programs….

Mariners finally earned veteran status in 1988 after a long legal battle. But by that point most were too old to take advantage of most benefits offered through the GI Bill.

…..estimated 10,000 surviving merchant mariners who served between 1941 and 1946…..

If payments are made to Merchant Mariners, according to Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind., they should also be paid to other groups such as the Flying Tigers and the Women's Air Force Service Pilots.

~~~~~~~~~~

For Immediate Release:
May 13, 2009
Further Information:
Mark Forest/Rory Sheehan - 202-225-3111
HOUSE PASSES BILL GIVING BENEFITS TO MERCHANT MARINERS
  Establishes Merchant Mariner Equity Compensation Fund For Those Who Served In WWII
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Rep. Bill Delahunt announced that the House of Representatives passed legislation last night establishing a Merchant Mariner Equity Compensation Fund and allows qualifying Merchant Mariners to receive monthly payments of $1,000 out of that fund.    

“Those who served in the Merchant Marine risked their lives to make sure our troops would have the food, fuel and ammunition to fight and win the war. This legislation gives them the long overdue recognition they deserve,” said Delahunt.

H.R. 23,  The Belated Thank You to the Merchant Mariners of World War II Act of 2009 introduced by House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Filner, establishes the Merchant Mariner Equity Compensation Fund for payments by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs of a monthly benefit of $1,000 to each individual who, between December 7, 1941, and December 31, 1946, was a documented member of the U.S. merchant marine (including the Army Transport Service and the Naval Transport Service).  

Even before December 7, 1941, those serving in the Merchant Marine risked their lives by delivering military and humanitarian aid to allied forces as part of the “Lend-Lease” Program. After the start of hostilities, merchant mariners were often on the front lines, serving on troop and cargo ships. They took part in every invasion, from Normandy to Okinawa and had a casualty rate second to only the United States Marine Corps. Following the war, Merchant Mariners were not recognized legally as veterans and as a result, could not qualify for the GI Bill, low interest mortgage assistance or seek medical treatment at VA medical centers. It was only in 1988 that they received veterans’ status from the federal government.

The bills will next be considered by the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. Last Congress, the Senate failed to take up consideration of this bill, but this year Sen. Ben Nelson has introduced similar legislation, and currently has 24 cosponsors.

He's hoping for a thank you

 

By NICK WERNER • nwerner@muncie.gannett.com • October 10, 2009

 

About 250,000 merchant mariners volunteered for service between 1941 and 1946, shipping troops, jeeps, oil and other crucial supplies across the Pacific and Atlantic. ….

According to the American Merchant Marine Veterans organization, more than 1,500 Merchant Marine ships were sunk and 9,400 Merchant Mariners were killed, resulting in the highest casualty rate of any service branch during World War II.

But because the mariners worked for private shipping companies on civilian-owned ships, the government did not grant them veteran status, at least not immediately… while soldiers and sailors received tuition assistance, Veterans Administration home loans and preference in hiring through the GI Bill and other government programs….

Mariners finally earned veteran status in 1988 after a long legal battle. But by that point most were too old to take advantage of most benefits offered through the GI Bill.

…..estimated 10,000 surviving merchant mariners who served between 1941 and 1946…..

If payments are made to Merchant Mariners, according to Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind., they should also be paid to other groups such as the Flying Tigers and the Women's Air Force Service Pilots.

~~~~~~~~~~

Introduced by Cong Bob Filner

 

Source:

 

http://thomas.loc.gov

 

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Belated Thank You to the Merchant Mariners of World War II Act of 2009 (Referred to Senate Committee after being Received from House)

HR 23 RFS

111th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 23

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 13, 2009

Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs


AN ACT

To amend title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish the Merchant Mariner Equity Compensation Fund to provide benefits to certain individuals who served in the United States merchant marine (including the Army Transport Service and the Naval Transport Service) during World War II.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `Belated Thank You to the Merchant Mariners of World War II Act of 2009'.

SEC. 2. PAYMENTS TO INDIVIDUALS WHO SERVED DURING WORLD WAR II IN THE UNITED STATES MERCHANT MARINE.

(a) Establishment of Compensation Fund- Subchapter II of chapter 5 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

`SEC. 533 MERCHANT MARINER EQUITY COMPENSATION FUND.

`(a) Compensation Fund- (1) There is in the general fund of the Treasury a fund to be known as the `Merchant Mariner Equity Compensation Fund' (in this section referred to as the `compensation fund').

`(2) Subject to the availability of appropriations for such purpose, amounts in the compensation fund shall be available to the Secretary without fiscal year limitation to make payments to eligible individuals in accordance with this section.

`(b) Eligible Individuals- (1) An eligible individual is an individual who--

`(A) during the one-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of the Belated Thank You to the Merchant Mariners of World War II Act of 2009, submits to the Secretary an application containing such information and assurances as the Secretary may require;

`(B) has not received benefits under the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 (Public Law 78-346); and

`(C) has engaged in qualified service.

`(2) For purposes of paragraph (1), a person has engaged in qualified service if, between December 7, 1941, and December 31, 1946, the person--

`(A) was a member of the United States merchant marine (including the Army Transport Service and the Naval Transport Service) serving as a crewmember of a vessel that was--

`(i) operated by the War Shipping Administration or the Office of Defense Transportation (or an agent of the Administration or Office);

`(ii) operated in waters other than inland waters, the Great Lakes, and other lakes, bays, and harbors of the United States;

`(iii) under contract or charter to, or property of, the Government of the United States; and

`(iv) serving the Armed Forces; and

`(B) while so serving, was licensed or otherwise documented for service as a crewmember of such a vessel by an officer or employee of the United States authorized to license or document the person for such service.

`(c) Amount of Payments- The Secretary shall make a monthly payment out of the compensation fund in the amount of $1,000 to an eligible individual. The Secretary shall make such payments to eligible individuals in the order in which the Secretary receives the applications of the eligible individuals.

`(d) Authorization of Appropriations- (1) There are authorized to be appropriated to the compensation fund amounts as follows:

`(A) For fiscal year 2010, $120,000,000.

`(B) For fiscal year 2011, $108,000,000.

`(C) For fiscal year 2012, $97,000,000.

`(D) For fiscal year 2013, $85,000,000.

`(E) For fiscal year 2014, $75,000,000.

`(2) Funds appropriated to carry out this section shall remain available until expended.

`(e) Reports- The Secretary shall include, in documents submitted to Congress by the Secretary in support of the President's budget for each fiscal year, detailed information on the operation of the compensation fund, including the number of applicants, the number of eligible individuals receiving benefits, the amounts paid out of the compensation fund, the administration of the compensation fund, and an estimate of the amounts necessary to fully fund the compensation fund for that fiscal year and each of the three subsequent fiscal years.

`(f) Regulations- The Secretary shall prescribe regulations to carry out this section.'.

(b) Regulations- Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall prescribe the regulations required under section 532(f) of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a).

(c) Clerical Amendment- The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is amended by inserting after the item related to section 532 the following new item:

`533. Merchant Mariner Equity Compensation Fund.'.

Passed the House of Representatives May 12, 2009.

Attest:

LORRAINE C. MILLER,

Clerk.

There are 4 versions of Bill Number H.R.23 for the 111th Congress

1 . Belated Thank You to the Merchant Mariners of World War II Act of 2009 (Introduced in House)[H.R.23.IH]
2 . Belated Thank You to the Merchant Mariners of World War II Act of 2009 (Reported in House)[H.R.23.RH]
3 . Belated Thank You to the Merchant Mariners of World War II Act of 2009 (Engrossed as Agreed to or Passed by House)[H.R.23.EH]
4 . Belated Thank You to the Merchant Mariners of World War II Act of 2009 (Referred to Senate Committee after being Received from House)
[H.R.23.RFS]
ALL ACTIONS:

1/6/2009:

Referred to the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

1/9/2009:

Referred to the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs.

5/1/2009:

Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Discharged.

5/6/2009:

Committee Consideration and Mark-up Session Held.

5/6/2009:

Ordered to be Reported (Amended) by Voice Vote.

5/7/2009 3:58pm:

Reported (Amended) by the Committee on Veterans' Affairs. H. Rept. 111-99.

5/7/2009 3:58pm:

Placed on the Union Calendar, Calendar No. 45.

5/12/2009 3:13pm:

Mr. Filner moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended.

5/12/2009 3:13pm:

Considered under suspension of the rules. (consideration: CR H5422-5428)

5/12/2009 3:13pm:

DEBATE - The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate on H.R. 23.

5/12/2009 3:38pm:

On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by voice vote. (text: CR H5422-5423)

5/12/2009 3:38pm:

Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection.

5/13/2009:

Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

~~~~~~~~~~

 

Introduced by Sen Nelson

 

Belated Thank You to the Merchant Mariners of World War II Act of 2009 (Introduced in Senate)

S 663 IS

111th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 663

To amend title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish the Merchant Mariner Equity Compensation Fund to provide benefits to certain individuals who served in the United States merchant marine (including the Army Transport Service and the Naval Transport Service) during World War II.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

March 19, 2009

Mr. NELSON of Nebraska (for himself, Mr. BROWNBACK, Mr. KENNEDY, Mrs. LINCOLN, Mr. GRASSLEY, Mr. DURBIN, Mr. WHITEHOUSE, Mr. INHOFE, Mr. WYDEN, Mr. CARDIN, Mr. KERRY, Ms. MURKOWSKI, Mr. SPECTER, Mrs. MURRAY, Ms. COLLINS, Ms. STABENOW, Mr. ROBERTS, and Mr. COCHRAN) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs


A BILL

To amend title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish the Merchant Mariner Equity Compensation Fund to provide benefits to certain individuals who served in the United States merchant marine (including the Army Transport Service and the Naval Transport Service) during World War II.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `Belated Thank You to the Merchant Mariners of World War II Act of 2009'.

SEC. 2. PAYMENTS TO INDIVIDUALS WHO SERVED DURING WORLD WAR II IN THE UNITED STATES MERCHANT MARINE.

(a) Establishment of Compensation Fund- Subchapter II of chapter 5 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

Sec. 532. Merchant Mariner Equity Compensation Fund

`(a) Compensation Fund- (1) There is in the general fund of the Treasury a fund to be known as the `Merchant Mariner Equity Compensation Fund' (in this section referred to as the `compensation fund').

`(2) Subject to the availability of appropriations for such purpose, amounts in the fund shall be available to the Secretary without fiscal year limitation to make payments to eligible individuals in accordance with this section.

`(b) Eligible Individuals- (1) An eligible individual is an individual who--

`(A) before October 1, 2009, submits to the Secretary an application containing such information and assurances as the Secretary may require;

`(B) has not received benefits under the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 (Public Law 78-346); and

`(C) has engaged in qualified service.

`(2) For purposes of paragraph (1), a person has engaged in qualified service if, between December 7, 1941, and December 31, 1946, the person--

`(A) was a member of the United States merchant marine (including the Army Transport Service and the Naval Transport Service) serving as a crewmember of a vessel that was--

`(i) operated by the War Shipping Administration or the Office of Defense Transportation (or an agent of the Administration or Office);

`(ii) operated in waters other than inland waters, the Great Lakes, and other lakes, bays, and harbors of the United States;

`(iii) under contract or charter to, or property of, the Government of the United States; and

`(iv) serving the Armed Forces; and

`(B) while so serving, was licensed or otherwise documented for service as a crewmember of such a vessel by an officer or employee of the United States authorized to license or document the person for such service.

`(c) Amount of Payments- The Secretary shall make a monthly payment out of the compensation fund in the amount of $1,000 to an eligible individual. The Secretary shall make such payments to eligible individuals in the order in which the Secretary receives the applications of the eligible individuals.

`(d) Authorization of Appropriations- (1) There are authorized to be appropriated to the compensation fund amounts as follows:

`(A) For fiscal year 2010, $120,000,000.

`(B) For fiscal year 2011, $108,000,000.

`(C) For fiscal year 2012, $97,000,000.

`(D) For fiscal year 2013, $85,000,000.

`(E) For fiscal year 2014, $75,000,000.

`(2) Funds appropriated to carry out this section shall remain available until expended.

`(e) Reports- The Secretary shall include, in documents submitted to Congress by the Secretary in support of the President's budget for each fiscal year, detailed information on the operation of the compensation fund, including the number of applicants, the number of eligible individuals receiving benefits, the amounts paid out of the compensation fund, the administration of the compensation fund, and an estimate of the amounts necessary to fully fund the compensation fund for that fiscal year and each of the three subsequent fiscal years.

`(f) Regulations- The Secretary shall prescribe regulations to carry out this section.'.

(b) Regulations- Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall prescribe the regulations required under section 532(f) of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a).

(c) Clerical Amendment- The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is amended by inserting after the item related to section 531 the following new item:

`532. Merchant Mariner Equity Compensation Fund.'.

 

ALL ACTIONS:

3/19/2009:

Read twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

4/29/2009:

Committee on Veterans' Affairs. Hearings held

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