Legal Services Corporation Leaders Confident of Bipartisan Support Despite President Trump’s Move to Defund

May 23, 2017

WASHINGTON – President Trump’s FY2018 budget proposal released today calls for defunding the Legal Services Corporation (LSC)but LSC leaders remain confident of bipartisan Congressional support.

President Trump’s FY2018 “budget blueprint” released in March proposed defunding LSC, and the full budget proposal released today has called for LSC’s elimination, allocating only $33 million to conduct a closeout.

"I have been very encouraged by the strong, bipartisan expressions of support for LSC funding from many members of Congress over the past few months,” said LSC President James J. Sandman. “I am optimistic that Congress will continue to recognize that funding civil legal aid nationally is effective, efficient, and a good investment.”

LSC’s mission is to ensure that low-income Americans receive the help they need in civil legal matters to ensure their safety, the stability of their families, and their livelihoods. The organization was created in 1974 with broad bipartisan congressional sponsorship and was signed into law by President Nixon. Every year for 42 years, Congress has funded LSC so that low-income constituents might realize our country’s solemn pledge of “justice for all.” Congress recently voted to continue LSC’s funding for FY2017 at $385 million, the same amount as the previous year.  

“We appreciate this ongoing bipartisan support and look forward to working with Congress to ensure access to justice for all Americans by increasing LSC’s funding in the future,” said LSC Chair John G. Levi. “LSC’s request of $527.8 million for Fiscal Year 2018 recognizes the overwhelming need for civil legal services in the country and LSC’s important mission in ensuring equal and fair representation under the law to all.”

Every day, legal aid offices provide critical constituent services to Americans. The 133 legal aid programs that LSC funds serve every county in every state and the territories. Seniors victimized by consumer scams, women needing protection orders from abusive spouses, and veterans seeking earned benefits frequently turn to civil legal aid offices for help. 

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 133 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.