WASHINGTON, DC--The U.S. House of Representatives today approved funding legislation that provides $328 million for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) in Fiscal Year 2013, after turning back two amendments that would have further cut or eliminated funding for the Corporation.
Rep. Austin Scott’s (R-Ga.) proposed amendment to the 2013 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations bill, which would have eliminated all funding for LSC, was defeated Tuesday night by a vote of 289-122.
The House also rejected, 246-165, a proposal from fellow Georgia Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland to cut the Corporation’s budget to $200 million.
Subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf (R-Va.) and Ranking Member Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) spoke in opposition to both amendments. Reps. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.) also took to the floor in support of Legal Services.
“I want to thank Chairman Wolf and Ranking Member Fattah for their leadership on this issue,” said LSC Board Chairman John. G. Levi. “Chairman Wolf was absolutely right when he noted that ‘we are facing an extremely difficult time, and. . . many poor people would be hurt’ by the cuts in these proposals.”
The U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) approved on April 18 funding legislation that provides $402 million for LSC, which is what the White House had recommended.
LSC funding was approximately $404 million in Fiscal Year 2011 before falling to $348 million in Fiscal Year 2012--the lowest funding ever, in inflation-adjusted dollars.
Most of LSC’s funding is used to support local nonprofit organizations via grants for the delivery of civil legal assistance to low-income Americans.
Established by Congress in 1974, LSC is the single largest funder of civil legal assistance in the nation. LSC grants help address the civil legal needs of the elderly, victims of domestic violence, veterans seeking benefits to which they are entitled, persons with disabilities, tenants facing unlawful evictions, and other civil matters.