Midyear Meeting

ABA Protests Proposed Cuts to Legal Services Funding

The ABA opposes any proposed cuts to funding of the federal Legal Services Corp., the ABA House of Delegates said today.

Last week, Rep. Hal Rogers, a Kentucky Republican who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, proposed a funding resolution that, among other things, would seek to reduce funding for the Legal Services Corp. for the remainder of fiscal 2011 from $420 million to $350 million. Over a year, that would translate into a 28 percent cut. The LSC distributes funding from Congress to local legal offices that serve low-income residents.

Earlier Monday, the White House budget request for Fiscal Year 2012 recommended $450 million in funding for the coming year. That would be up a 7 percent increase from the current year.

According to LSC, almost 94 percent of the White House budget request would be distributed to fund 136 independent nonprofit legal aid programs with more than 900 offices across the country. Last year, these LSC-funded programs closed cases affecting about 2.3 million people, according to a Legal Services Corp. press release.

LSC funding has been a priority for the ABA for decades. Resolution 10E (PDF) passed the House on an overwhelming voice vote. No one spoke in opposition.

Updated April 21 to note the correct fiscal year.

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