Marshall draws cheers from American Legion in fight
to end 'Disabled
ST. LOUIS, Aug. 28, 2003-- Georgia
Congressman Jim Marshall drew enthusiastic cheers and applause from
thousands of American Legionnaires today as he addressed delegates to
the 85th National Convention here on his fight to end the "disabled
"There has long been a fiction
that military retirees receive benefits from the government for their
disability," Marshall said. "But most don't. To add insult to
injury, as a veteran's disability increases, so does the penalty imposed
by our government."
"Retired military veterans who
incurred service connected injuries are the only people in America who
have to fund their own disability benefits, and that's wrong,"
American Legion National Commander Ronald F. Conley said. "The
American Legion will pull out every stop to end this travesty. No
veteran who served his or her country with honor should be forced to pay
for their own disability."
H.R. 303, introduced by Rep. Michael
Bilirakis of Florida, would authorize the government to implement full
payment of both retirement pay and disability compensation to half a
million disabled military retirees. This bipartisan legislation has more
than 300 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle and similar legislation
has already passed the Senate. Under current law, retired veterans with
a service-connected disability and twenty years of honorable service are
not permitted to receive both disability compensation and military
retired pay for their years of military service from the Department of
"It's time for Congress to put up
or shut up," said Marshall. "This legislation has been
introduced each Congress for the last sixteen years. That's sixteen
years too many. I call on America's Representatives to demonstrate their
support for veterans and sign the discharge petition and end the
Disabled Veterans Tax."
A discharge petition is a special
House rule allowing for a majority of the House, 218 Representatives, to
force a vote on an issue that is being bottled up in committee or by the
leadership. It is the same extraordinary procedure used to force passage
of campaign finance reform legislation in the last Congress.
Founded in 1919 in Paris by World War
I veterans, the 2.8 million-member American Legion is the nation's
largest wartime veterans organization