June 18, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC -- The House approved a Fiscal 2010 appropriations bill today that would provide the Legal Services Corporation with $440 million in funding, an increase of $50 million.
Most of the funding -- $414.4 million -- would be distributed to 137 independent nonprofit legal aid programs with more than 900 offices that deliver legal assistance to low-income individuals and families across the country. The bill also would provide funds for technology innovation grants and for loan repayment assistance to help programs recruit and retain talented attorneys.
"The Legal Services Corporation greatly appreciates the support of the House of Representatives," Frank B. Strickland, Chairman of the LSC Board of Directors, said. "Additional funding will bolster the efforts of legal aid programs to better serve low-income individuals and families, especially during this recession when many are at risk of losing jobs, housing and other basic necessities."
Prior to the final vote, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.) offered an amendment to eliminate LSC, saying that Congress needs to "sunset" some programs to help ease the burden of the national debt and federal deficit on the nation's families. Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D-W.Va.), who chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees LSC, opposed the amendment, saying "this is the wrong place to try to balance the budget, on the backs of those who are least able to make a contribution." The House rejected the amendment on a 323-to-105 vote.
The House bill would continue existing limitations on the use of LSC funds but would lift the restriction on the ability of LSC-funded programs to collect attorneys' fees.
LSC is the single largest provider of civil legal assistance for the poor in the nation. Established by Congress in 1974, LSC operates as a private, nonprofit organization to promote equal access to justice and to provide high-quality legal assistance to low-income Americans.