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The CHAIRMAN. Oh, no, not at all. Title VI was passed away back in 1941. We have just continued and elaborated upon it somewhat. It was never a veterans' bill. Title VI of the Federal Housing Administration financing was never a veterans' bill, except that the home purchaser who wanted to make use of title VI financing might be a veteran. It was not set out as a veterans' assistance program until 1946. You implied that if we continued the operation of title VI as it has operated during the past years that the veterans will be put in a prejudicial position by it. Do you want that to stand?

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. No, I said that passing title VI, by itself, giving the additional appropriation of funds to title VI, by itself, with the authority of the Administrator to increase the interest rate, and permitting the Veterans' Administration loans to remain at 4, will be of no aid materially to the veteran in the lowest-income bracket. Mr. MONRONEY. Mr. Chairman, would you yield for a question? The CHAIRMAN. Yes.

Mr. MONRONEY. If I understood the witness correctly, he was answering Dr. Smith's statement that the public housing feature of this bill would draw away from the veterans' private housing program, and that he was fearful that it would damage our over-all housing program. The witness answered that it would no more draw scarce materials from the veterans' housing program than title VI.

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. That is correct.

Mr. MONRONEY. In other words, if you want loads of building materials, just do not build any houses, and you will have them clogging up the country. But if you are going to build houses, materials are going to be very scarce and the more houses you build, the scarcer they will be. But you have this national housing problem before you, and I think that is what the witness was saying, that one program naturally draws away from another.

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. That is correct.

Mr. SMITH. But there is another consideration. Title VI, under the Federal Housing Act, does not demolish houses. It builds new houses.

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. That is correct.

Mr. SMITH. So the two are not comparable, and that is the point I wish to make, and I doubt very much if the American Legion going into this question, would even think of recommending title V of S. 866, because it cannot possibly provide additional housing. It must reduce the number of houses built.

Here is what that title of S. 866 says:

In view of the existing acute housing shortage, each such contract shall further provide that there shall be no demolition of residential structures in connection with the project assisted under the contract prior to July 1, 1950

That is almost here. Do you expect the housing shortage to be alleviated by 1950?

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. I would say if it was not, the Congress would have no trouble in amending it to wait until 1952.

Mr. SMITH. Suppose you make it 1952. What assurance have you that the housing shortage will be alleviated then?

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. Well, we can only guess. We do not know. It may not be.

Mr. SMITH. You would recommend that it be postponed indefinitely to meet that situation?

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. No, I did not say that.

Mr. SMITH. Is the American Legion recommending slum-clearance housing?

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. The American Legion is recommending nothing in S. 866 standing by itself. The Congressman is directing his questions to me in an effort to justify any single title standing alone, and obviously no one could claim that any one of those titles, public housing, slum clearance, title VI-the proponents of title VI do not claim that that will solve all the housing probems-and, of course, they cannot. We do not say that H. R. 4488 will solve them all. But we are hopeful that altogether they will make a serious inroad into the housing shortage. But, standing alone, I heartily agree that will not do it. The public housing feature, the slum clearance feature, the title VI, the paraplegic feature, the research feature, H. R. 4488, none of those standing alone will solve the housing problem. We are hopeful that all together they will help.

Mr. SMITH. But, all of them, even though one of them actually reduces the number of houses constructed, that would otherwise be built, are conducive to the welfare of the veteran?

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. My answer to that is that I did not believe it would reduce the number of housing.

Mr. SMITH. You have to read this bill to see what it contains, and read the old act, the United States Housing Authority Act, and examine what has happened with respect to the housing program up to the present time under that Act. It seems to me that you are in a difficult position. You cannot escape the fact that this will complete with materials and labor, and you will have fewer houses than you would have if title V of S. 866 were stricken from this bill.

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. You mean the public feature, not S. 866.
Mr. SMITH. Yes. I am sorry.

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. I agree that anything you put in there that will make for more houses to be built, will compete with other sections of the bill. Unquestionably. But put a paraplegic section there, for the building of homes for paraplegics, unquestionably the building materials that go into those homes cannot go into the building of homes that come under other titles of the bill. There can be no question about that.

Mr. SMITH. When you are building for paraplegics, you are not demolishing homes. Let us hold to that fact. Let us hold to the fact the United States Housing Act provides not for the construction of additional housing, but for the replacement of housing. No matter what we think about it, here is the law, and it has been in practice.

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. I do not disagree that the public housing section makes provision for the demolition of every unit for every one that is put up. I merely said that as of today, that will not take place. It will take place in the future. That is as I read it and I do not think there is any question about it. But that is only one part of the bill. Standing alone, we would not be for it. If it were the only part of this bill, nobody would be for it. The only part of this bill providing for the erection of a house, and for every one that was erected, one to be torn down, I do not think would have any proponents.

Mr. SMITH. I do not want to take up too much of the committee's time. You have gone into the implications of title VI of S. 866, you say, but it will likely mean that the Federal Government will go into the building of upward of 6,000,000 homes, merely under the spirit of the bill, and under the provisions of the bill. And that will run into an enormous figure. Do you think that that is a good thing for the country? I am speaking about title VI of S. 866 now.

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. I am afraid I cannot add to anything I have already said.

Mr. SMITH. Title VI of S. 866 adds around $6,000,000,000 to the Federal debt. Is that a good thing?

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. Well, it has got title VI in it, which this committee passed, and thought it was all right.

Mr. SMITH. Do you think we can go on increasing the Federal debt without limit?

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. Unquestionably not.

Mr. SMITH. If the country goes bankrupt, would this be one of the factors which would help to bankrupt it?

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. If we thought that, using today's measuring rods, that this bill, as amended by our bill, would bankrupt the country, obviously, we would not be for it.

Mr. SMITH. I am talking about title VI of S. 866 now. I am not considering any other bill. I am speaking specifically with respect to the public housing feature of the bill.

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. Well, you keep referring to S. 866 which is the title of the whole bill. It is difficult for me to understand. You mean the public housing title of S. 866.

Mr. SMITH. That is correct, titles V and VI of S. 866. Those are the features I am discussing. I did not say that that $6,000,000,000 itself would be the factor to topple us over and bankrupt the Nation. I merely indicated that it would be a factor in bringing that about, if that eventuates. And there are some of us who fear that it is eventuating. I have two sons who are veterans. As I understand it, this war was fought to retain our liberty. Is that correct?

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. That is correct.

Mr. SMITH. What did public housing do to the liberties of the people in England and in Austria and in Russia?

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. The Congressman is insisting on taking one phase of the bill and demanding that I justify that, not coupled with anything else. That, I have tried to explain, I am not attempting to do. I am not trying to justify any one feature of the bill, just as I would not try to justify H. R. 4488 in its present form, standing alone, as a measure to solve all the housing evils of the Nation.

Mr. SMITH. To the extent that public housing is built under the provisions to which I have referred, is it not a fact that those houses will be nationalized?

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. I am sure you do not want my personal opinion and the Legion has not any mandate on that specific point. The Legion believes that the provisions of S. 866, as amended by our bill, are good and proper and fitting for the Congress to pass.

Mr. SMITH. You would not care to answer my question, then, whether it is or is not socialization of housing?

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. I am sure that it is not socialization of housing.

Mr. SMITH. It is not?

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. It is not.

Mr. SMITH. If the Federal Government owns the house you live in, it is not socialized?

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. I did not know it provided for the Federal Government to own the house. The house would be owned by the local authority. Title would be in the local authority, and not in the Federal Government.

Mr. SMITH. You think, then, that because the local authority owns the housing, assuming it does, that it will not be socialization of housing?

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. I am sure the American Legion would not be for anything that was socialism.

Mr. SMITH. Let me ask you this: When does the supervision and jurisdiction of the Federal Government cease with respect to these houses?

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. Some 40 some years after their construction. Mr. SMITH. You are sure about that?


Mr. SMITH. The Federal Government will no longer have any interest in the matter?

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. At the time that the Federal Government no longer has the obligation to pay any subsidy, it no longer has any interest.

Mr. SMITH. Supposing we start this program again-we stopped it in 1939-and we continue on building houses under it, would you care to tell the committee where it is going to stop?

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. I have no fear that it is not going to stop at the proper place, because I have confidence in the Congress that at such time as it deviates from its present purpose that the Congress will stop it just as it will stop all housing legislation by amendment at the proper time.

Mr. SMITH. You think that the Federal Government does not own these housing projects, that they are owned by the local housing authority, and that takes the houses out of the class of socialized housing; is that your idea?

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. That is correct.

The CHAIRMAN. Are there further questions?

Mr. SPENCE. Mr. Alessandroni, if title VI of the National Housing Act would stimulate the building of homes, the veterans would participate in that, would they, as the other American people would participate? Do you not think it would assist them?

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. There is no question but what title VI will stimulate the building of houses. Unquestionably. I merely pointed out in passing that, standing alone, especially with an increase in the interest rate of 42 percent, it will make available credit aids to many people who do not have them at this very minute.

Mr. SPENCE. If we solve the housing problem for the American people, we solve it for the veteran, too, do we not?

Mr. ALESSSANDRONI. If we solve it for everybody, we do solve it for the veteran.

Mr. SPENCE. The veterans group is not a segregated body. You have certain preferential rights, as veterans, but you still have an interest common with the rest of the people.

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. That is correct.

Mr. SPENCE. And the things that are beneficial to all the people of America are equally beneficial to the veteran; is that not true?

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. That is correct, and we do not mean to say that there should only be veterans' housing legislation. We do not mean that at all.

Mr. SPENCE. If the legislation is sound in it's objective, if it is to increase the number of homes, and it will do that, the veteran necessarily participates in the benefits, does he not?

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. If he participates equally, or on a preferential status, then, it is all right. But if he must compete with people who are earning more money, if the legislation provides for the assistance in building of homes of $15,000 and $20,000, that labor and materials which is going into the building of those homes, necessarily limits the veteran who can only pay $7,000 or $8,000. To that point only do I direct my remarks. Legislation which is beneficial to all and in which the veterans participate is beneficial to the veterans. I am sure no veterans organization claims there should be only legislation for veterans alone.

Mr. SPENCE. I cannot conceive how the veteran would not participate in the benefits of a building program for the benefit of all the American people.

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. He will participate. It is a question of the degree to which he participates. Just because he participates slightly, if the houses are going to be built in urban areas, from $9,000 upit is true that the veteran can participate but the percentage of veterans who can participate at that price is so small that we think additional legislation or corrective legislation must be passed to take care of the veteran who cannot pay that price. In itself, obviously, it is not there. But it wipes out his credit by making the cost of the houses rise. If you build $15,000 homes, some veterans can buy those homes and from that point of view it is correct to say that the veteran is being given treatment along with everyone else. But there are only 3 or 4 or 5 percent of the veterans who can pay $15,000 or more, then, we says that the legislation has not done all it should do towards giving the veteran the proper preference he should have.

Mr. SMITH. Mr. Chairman, would the witness give the committee his background?

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. How much background would you like?
Mr. SMITH. What is your profession or vocation?

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. I am a lawyer.

Mr. SMITH. In private practice?

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. That is correct.

Mr. SMITH. You are not connected with any housing projects? Mr. ALESSANDRONI. I resent the implication contained in that question very much.

The CHAIRMAN. I think the question is perfectly proper. It is the customary thing to get a witness' background.

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. I have no objection to answering it.

The CHAIRMAN. Surely, you should have no objection to telling whether you are connected with any projects.

Mr. ALESSANDRONI. That is correct, sir, but I insist that the whole thing be put on the record.

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