July 12, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC--Today, the House Appropriations Committee approved a $28 million increase for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) as part of its Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) funding bill for FY 2008. This increase would bring funding for the Corporation to a total of $377 million. LSC is an independent, non-profit Corporation created by the Congress in 1974 to promote equal access to justice and to provide high-quality civil legal assistance to low-income Americans. The 8 percent increase for the Corporation is the second consecutive annual increase and would represent a $50 million gain over two years.
The bill passed the committee with a unanimous vote and is expected to go to the House floor prior to the August 6 recess.
Subcommittee Chairman Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.) today reiterated his June 11 statement that he is "proud" of this support for LSC. Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), ranking member, has remained supportive throughout this year's process.
The Senate Appropriations Committee voted favorably on a 12 percent or $41.4 million increase for LSC in its meeting of June 28.
These proposed increases are, in part, recognition of LSC's groundbreaking report, Documenting the Justice Gap: The Current Unmet Civil Legal Needs of Low-Income Americans, which was completed in September 2005. The Justice Gap Report documents that nationwide, for every eligible person helped by LSC-funded programs, another is turned away. Fifty percent of those actually seeking help are turned away for one primary reason: lack of resources.
"On behalf of the additional tens of thousands of people the proposed budget increase would enable LSC-funded programs to help, I thank Congressmen Alan Mollohan, Rodney Freylinghusen, David Obey, Jerry Lewis, and the entire Committee for their support," said LSC President Helaine M. Barnett.
The main source of funding for civil legal aid, LSC gives grants to independent, local programs--in 2007, 138 programs with more than 900 offices nationwide. Grants are awarded through a competitive process. The size of the grant is based on the number of people living in poverty in a given state or geographic service area.
LSC's bipartisan, 11-member Board of Directors is appointed by the President of the United States with the advice and consent of the Senate.