November 6, 2007 - Issue #60
In October the Senate considered H.R. 3093, which includes funding for the Legal Services Corporation. The Senate Appropriations Committee in June had approved a $42 million increase for LSC. On October 15, Senator John Thune (R-SD) offered an amendment to use $20 million of that increase to fund a Justice Department program to prosecute violent crime on Indian reservations. In the first recorded floor vote since 1995, the Senate defeated Senator Thunes amendment 61-32. While everyone agreed that Senator Thunes benefactor program was in need of greater support, a strong bipartisan majority noted that LSC was still woefully under funded and rejected taking money from one program to aid the poor, to give to another. The Senate passed H.R. 3093 on October 17, including the full $390 million for LSC. The bipartisan vote was 75-19, a veto-proof margin.
A House/Senate Conference must now resolve the differences in the House and Senate bills. The House had previously approved $377 million for LSC. At press time, the president has threatened to veto this bill (and others) because spending exceeds his budget request. The Continuing Resolution passed by Congress in September to fund government programs pending completion of the appropriations bills expires on November 16, 2007.
For more information about the ABA's lobbying and grassroots efforts in support of LSC or about ABA Day, go to the ABA website at www.abanet.org/poladv or contact , ABA Director, Grassroots Operations/Legislative Counsel, at 202 662-1764.