The House of Representatives on May 12, 2009 passed by voice vote HR 23 the Merchant Marine Veterans bill which provides a pension for Merchant Mariners who served in World War II. This bill finally recognizes their service to the nation. As of last week there were 168 Congressmen who had cosponsored the legislation. A companion bill was introduced in the Senate as S663 by Senator Nelson of Nebraska and it has 24 cosponsors as of May 13, 2009. The action now goes to the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee chaired by Senator Akaka where markup of legislation is scheduled for May 21, 2009. In order for the Merchant Marine Veterans legislation bill S663 to be considered for markup, Senator Nelson advises that a committee member has to submit an amendment in the form of S663 at the markup meeting. There are presently 3 members of the Veterans Affairs Committee who are cosponsors of the legislation. They are Senators Patty Murray of Washington, Senator Arlen Spector of Pennsylvania and Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Only Senators on the Committee can act on the markup. The should be contacted by phone, email and other contacts, particularly from their home state to add the amendment. Immediate action is required to make it in the markup. ACTA NON VERBA. The Capitol switchboard number is 1-800-828-0498 and the email addresses or mailing addresses for Senators can be found through the Website “ Thomas.gov.” You can also follow action on the legislation on the website. In addition other Senators should be requested to cosponsor S663. In the last session of Congress there were 59 cosponsors.