House Appropriations Committee Approves Bill Providing $600 Million for the Legal Services Corporation

WASHINGTON ­— The House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations yesterday approved funding legislation that includes $600 million for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) in FY 2022. LSC funding was included in the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) FY 2022 bill that was approved earlier this week. 

The amount in the CJS bill is $135 million more than LSC’s current appropriation, reflecting a 29% increase. This would be the largest single increase ever in LSC funding. The great bulk of the LSC appropriation — $557,400,000 — would go to Basic Field Grants, which support the day-to-day operations of LSC-funded civil legal aid organizations around the country. If enacted, this would be the fourth time in recent years that LSC received a funding increase over the prior year. 

The Biden Administration has also requested $600 million for LSC — the largest request ever put forward by any administration. LSC asked Congress for an appropriation of $1.018 billion in its 2022 FY budget request. This request responds to the surge in demand for civil legal services caused by COVID-19’s impact on low-income communities. 

“We are grateful to the House Appropriations Committee for taking a critical first step in addressing the enormous gap between the life-impacting legal needs of low-income Americans and the resources available to meet those needs,” said LSC President, Ronald S. Flagg. “This funding increase is particularly critical to address the surge in legal needs, such as unemployment claims, evictions, and incidents of domestic violence, arising from the pandemic.”

CJS Chair Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA-8) included LSC in his opening statement and spoke about the importance of providing funds for legal services for low-income people.  

“This legislation provides a record high funding level of $600 million for the Legal Services Corporation in order to help greatly expand legal services for low-income Americans,” he said.

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 132 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.

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