July 23, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC -- The Senate Appropriations Committee on July 22 approved $430 million in Fiscal Year 2011 funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). Of that amount, $401.7 million would provide grants for the delivery of civil legal assistance to low-income Americans.
In addition to the funding for legal assistance to the poor, the Senate bill would provide $3 million for technology innovation grants; $1 million for student loan repayment assistance to help nonprofit legal aid programs recruit and retain talented attorneys; $4.3 million for the LSC Office of Inspector General, and $20 million for management and grants oversight.
The Senate Appropriations Committee acted on the proposed LSC budget as part of the Fiscal Year 2011 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies appropriations bill. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) serves as the Committee's Chairman and Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) is the Vice Chairman. The Senate Subcommittee that oversees LSC funding is chaired by Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.); the ranking member is Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.).
LSC's current funding is $420 million, and the $10 million increase in the Senate bill is contingent upon a certification from the LSC Board of Directors Chairman and the LSC President that implementation has been completed on recommendations made by the Government Accountability Office in 2007 and by the LSC Inspector General in 2008 and 2009.
The House Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees LSC funding approved $440 million in FY 2011 funding on June 29. The House Subcommittee bill would continue existing restrictions on the use of funds, but lifts the restriction on the ability of LSC-funded programs to consolidate related client cases into class-action suits. The Senate Appropriations bill would continue existing limitations on the use of federal funds, but lifts restrictions on the use of non-federal funds except in litigation involving abortion or litigation on behalf of prisoners.
LSC grants are distributed to 136 independent nonprofit legal aid programs that deliver legal assistance to low-income individuals and families across the nation. Because of the nation's weak economy, the programs funded by LSC are receiving increased requests for help with foreclosures, unemployment, consumer issues and other legal matters.
LSC is the single largest funder of civil legal assistance for the poor in the nation. Established in 1974, LSC operates as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation to promote equal access to justice and to ensure the provision of high-quality civil legal assistance to low-income Americans.