UPCOMING DISASTER BILL
Senators are arguing the cost and breadth of an upcoming emergency disaster supplemental spending bill.
Previous iterations of this bill in both the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), and the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, chaired by Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY), have both included $15 million for the Legal Services Corporation in emergency disaster funding—without funding restrictions previously used for LSC disaster funding.
Democrats seek aid for 2017 disasters in addition to 2018 disasters, while Republicans seek to control spending and to focus on 2018 disasters.
On 2/26/2019, Georgia Republican Senators Johnny Isakson and David Perdue introduced a $13.6 billion version containing $610 million in nutrition benefits for 1.4 million Puerto Rico residents.
Senator Shelby and Senate Appropriations Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) are negotiating a more expansive version.
LSC FISCAL YEAR 2019 APPROPRIATIONS
On February 15, 2019, the Consolidate Appropriations Act, 2019 became law. The enactment followed a partial and extended government shutdown. In the Fiscal Year 2019 Commerce Justice Science Appropriations title of the law, the Legal Services Corporation received $415,000,000. The text is available here and is linked below under the Resources tab at left.
CONTINUING RESOLUTION EXTENDS LSC FUNDING THROUGH DECEMBER 7
On September 28, President Trump signed H.R. 6157 (P.L. 115-245) which provided full-year funding for the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, and Education. The bill also includes a continuing resolution to ensure that the entire federal government will be funded through December 7, 2018. This includes funding LSC at $410 million.
ABA APPLAUDS PASSAGE OF THE POWER ACT
On September 18, the ABA sent thank you letters to the House and Senate co-sponsors of the POWER Act for their leadership on passing the bill and requires the chief judge from each judicial district to promote annually pro bono legal services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. The law, which was enacted September 4th, includes in its findings the ABA Model Rules and commentary stating that “every lawyer, regardless of professional prominence or professional workload, has a responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay, and personal involvement in the problems of the disadvantaged can be one of the most rewarding experiences in the life of a lawyer.”
The President is calling for the elimination of the Legal Services Corporation. Make a stand for legal aid!
The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) ensures “Equal Justice Under Law” by enabling access to the justice system for vulnerable Americans.
LSC, the central foundation for the legal aid system, provides the backbone for America’s civil legal aid and pro bono system.
93.7% of LSC’s total budget is awarded in grants to 133 civil legal aid programs with over 800 offices nationwide. At least one LSC grantee serves each county and territory of the United States.
For decades the ABA has advocated Legal Services Corporation funding as the embodiment of the federal government’s role in securing the federal rights and duties it created for the people—securing the core American value of equal justice under law.
The LSC has always had bipartisan support in Congress, and polling indicates 82% of Americans support equal access to justice that protects the vulnerable.