Executive Branch

ABA president criticizes 'egregious' cuts to LSC, loan forgiveness in Trump budget proposal

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ABA President Linda Klein. Photo Courtesy of ABA Communications.

ABA President Linda A. Klein on Tuesday sharply criticized proposed budget cuts by the White House that would do “severe damage to the most vulnerable people in our society.”

“Steep budget cuts proposed today by the White House would severely undermine the fairness of the legal system and deny access to justice for some of society’s most vulnerable individuals,” Klein said in the statement.

“These include children, veterans, the elderly, people with disabilities, people in poverty, families suffering after natural disasters, survivors of domestic violence and victims of other crimes.”

Klein listed elimination of funding for two programs as “among the more egregious cuts to the Constitution’s promise of a fair legal process.” The programs are:

• The Legal Services Corp., which provides civil legal aid to those who can’t afford it. “The Legal Services Corporation promotes fair and efficient operation of our nation’s courts, giving low-income people representation in custody disputes, wrongful evictions, denial of benefits cases and other matters,” Klein said.

• Public Service Loan Forgiveness, which encourages law and other graduates to work in lower-paying but critical jobs. “Without loan forgiveness,” Klein said, “fewer people would be able to dedicate their lives to public service as prosecutors, public defenders, legal aid lawyers and other justice-related fields, especially in underserved rural areas.”

Programs affecting justice are not the only ones targeted for harsh reductions, Klein said. “Many other parts of the proposed budget would also do severe damage to the most vulnerable people in our society by cutting access to food assistance, medical care, housing and the other necessities of life.

“As the budget process moves forward, the American Bar Association urges Congress to reinstate adequate funding for these important and valuable programs. In order to ‘establish justice’ as our Constitution calls on us to do, these programs must be preserved.”

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