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May 01, 2015

Legal Services Corporation

The House Appropriations Committee approved a fiscal year 2016 appropriations measure May 20 that would reduce funding for LSC from its current level of $375 million to $300 million. The amount is well below the $452 million requested by President Obama and supported by the ABA, which cited the growing need for civil legal assistance for low-income Americans in statements submitted in March to appropriations panels in the House and Senate. In the statements, ABA President William C. Hubbard emphasized that the LSC is the largest provider of civil legal assistance to low-income Americans through grants to programs in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico and robust funding is needed because other funding sources have diminished due to the country’s economic downturn. When people are unable to resolve their civil legal matters, they are more likely to require other forms of publicly funded assistance, he said. The LSC funding is part of a $51.4 billion Commerce-Justice-Science spending bill that includes an overall reduction of $334 million for various Justice Department grant programs, including elimination of funding for juvenile justice intervention programs. The bill would provide a $44 million increase to $474 million for violence against women programs, create a new $50 million Community Trust Initiative to for police training and research; and increase Federal Bureau of Investigation funding by $111 million for fighting cybercrime and terrorism. The Executive Office of Immigration Review would receive the funding requested by the president to support an additional 55 immigration judges and staff to reduce immigration backlogs.

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