WASHINGTON -- In a show of bipartisan support for federally funded civil legal services, the Senate Appropriations Committee yesterday approved $430 million for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) in FY 2014. This amount represents a $90 million increase over LSC’s current funding level, and is consistent with the White House budget request for FY 2014.
"We want to thank Senators Mikulski and Shelby for showing such strong leadership and support for LSC, and for recognizing the importance of federally funded civil legal aid,” said LSC Board Chairman John G. Levi.
Funding for LSC is included in the FY 2014 Senate Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) Subcommittee appropriations bill passed by the Appropriations Committee yesterday. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) chairs both the committee and subcommittee; Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) is the ranking member.
“We also want to thank Representatives Frank Wolf and Chaka Fattah for their ongoing support of LSC despite a very challenging budget climate. They know that it is not enough to have a system of laws if millions of our citizens do not have meaningful access to that system,” said LSC President Jim Sandman.
The Senate and House CJS subcommittees started the FY 2014 budget process with very different allocations; the Senate CJS subcommittee had nearly $5 billion more to work with than the House. On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Committee approved the CJS Appropriations Subcommittee bill for FY 2014 that includes $300 million for LSC. During the House mark-up, both Subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf (R-Va.) and Ranking Member Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) spoke of their desire to increase funding for LSC during the House/Senate conference.
LSC was established by the Congress in 1974 to provide equal access to justice and to ensure the delivery of high-quality civil legal assistance to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 134 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.