Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Grant Ujifusa Interview II
Narrator: Grant Ujifusa
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: March 2, 2002
Densho ID: denshovh-ugrant-02-0009

<Begin Segment 9>

TI: But still, it must have been a hard sell. This was -- I can recall the era. I mean, large deficits, the country and Congress in particular was not in a mood to, to pay out billions of dollars for this.

GU: Not billions. About, all together maybe a billion six. Yes, it was tough. But you -- I'll tell you what happened, and then, some nice things that my, one of my classmates, Dick Darman did. Much hated among Republicans now. Dick Darman was the OMB, Chief under Bush 1. So, you say, this is just a -- this is just an authorization bill. You can authorize anything. You can write in the budget a hundred million dollars. And (then) the appropriations process comes in and says, oh, we've got a good number on this hundred million dollar authorization. We'll give them ten dollars and thirty cents this year. So if you're an ordinary congressman you say, "Wow, there's all this pressure coming in. And Washington Post, oh Jesus, and all these people are coming in from New Jersey. Jews like this issue. Well, let's just do the authorization bill." And...

TI: Because essentially they were thinking, "We'll authorize it, but they'll never be paid"?

GU: Yeah, it could be. "It's not my problem. The appropriations process on both sides, they're responsible for that." And most people don't understand the appropriations process. "Look, I'm sorry. We did the authorization. And these sons of bitches who do the actual appropriating, they won't free up the money because we have this deficit and our veterans want it. And the veterans should have it before you. So, you know, let's just authorize it." Done on both sides. I think some people self-consciously thought that. You can authorize anything. Although it's hard to get an authorization bill through. Believe me. I mean, maybe one in ten makes it. And then Danny, towards the end said -- he was not a great supporter of redress. Sort of a kotonk issue. And philosophically he had some right to say, as he said to me, "How much money are the guys who are pushing up daisies in Italy getting?"

TI: Referring to the 442 vets?

GU: Yeah, they're dead. They're not -- and I said, they're not getting nothin'. But maybe their sister's gettin' something. Maybe their niece is getting something. But for him, I think, and I can still feel this as part of me. Look, don't cheapen the experience of the guys whose brains were in my hand by putting a figure of twenty thousand dollars on it. That is outrageous. But in the end he came around and he said -- I think a lot of vets felt this way, especially initially. In the end he came around and he said, "Okay, I'm a big time guy here on the appropriations committee on the Senate side. We're gonna have to wait a couple years but I'll turn this into an entitlement so we don't have to go through this shit every year."

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.