April 15, 2005 - Issue #48
The President sent his FY 2006 budget to Capitol Hill in early February. Unlike the last four years, in which he has included $329,000,000 for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), the President proposed across the board cuts to many programs including LSC, requesting that it receive only $318,250,000. This is a 5% cut from the pre-rescission FY 2005 appropriation of $335,282,000, and if enacted will result in severe cuts to local legal aid programs. Shortly before the release of this budget, at its meeting on Saturday, February 5, the LSC board of directors reaffirmed its support for a FY 2006 budget request of $363,809,000.
The House and Senate Appropriations committees and subcommittees have been reorganized for this Congress. The former House subcommittee on Commerce Justice State (with funding jurisdiction over LSC) becomes the subcommittee on Science, State, Justice and Commerce and Related Agencies, taking on jurisdiction of NASA and other science programs. Frank Wolf of Virginia remains the chair. Alan Mollohan of West Virginia becomes the ranking member. In the Senate, the subcommittee with jurisdiction over funding for LSC will be the subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science, which will gain jurisdiction over NASA and other science programs. It will be chaired by Senator Shelby of Alabama, with Senator Mikulski of California serving as the ranking member. The impact of these changes is yet to be seen, but some observers expressed concerns that NASA will receive a disproportionate share of attention and funding under this arrangement.
The ABA intends to work with ABA, state and local bar and IOLTA leaders as the budget process goes forward. Many of those leaders will attend ABA Day in Washington, April 27-28, to lobby for LSC funding and other issues of importance to the bar. For more information, please contact Julie Strandlie in the ABA Governmental Affairs Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.