Brooks, Kennedy, Upton, Dingell Defend Legal Services Corporation
WASHINGTON, DC – As co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Access to Civil Legal Services Caucus, Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN), Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI), and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) today raised concerns about President Trump’s proposal to eliminate the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). For the second consecutive year, the President’s budget request proposed eliminating the nation’s largest single funder of civil legal aid for low-income Americans.
“The Legal Services Corporation does important work to help millions of low-income Americans when they are facing legal action access informed advocates, whether it’s eviction, custodial issues, wills and estate planning, disability, employment and everything in between,” said Brooks. The LSC ensures access to civil legal aid for domestic violence survivors who need help navigating the legal process so they can break the cycle of abuse. As we plan for next year’s appropriations process, we must remain focused on providing for the security of our citizens and their families, and I am disappointed the President did not include funding for this operation that can be life-changing for Americans across the country. As co-chair of the Access to Civil Legal Services Caucus, I will continue to work with my colleagues to protect Americans’ access to legal services because we must protect and defend our citizens’ right to due process and access to legal counsel.”
“In our nation’s civil courtrooms, our sacred promise of ‘Equal Justice Under Law’ too often rings hollow for those denied access to legal representation,” said Kennedy. “Eliminating LSC would only enlarge the already vast justice gap that exists for low-income Americans fighting to keep a roof over their heads and their family safe and secure. Alongside my co-chairs and colleagues, we will continue to advocate for LSC and all of the lives that they touch.”
“It is very disappointing to see the president’s budget request eliminate funding for the Legal Services Corporation,” said Upton. “Every year, LSC helps more than a million Americans, from veterans to domestic violence victims, receive a fair shot in the civil legal system. With LSC accounting for almost half of their funding, legal aid programs in Michigan would be crippled in delivering vital services to thousands of Michigan families and individuals. We’ll continue to work on a bipartisan basis to ensure this critical service is properly funded.”
“It is disappointing that for the second year in a row the President has called for the elimination of the Legal Services Corporation,” said Dingell. “LSC helps ensure access to legal representation for millions of Americans, including veterans and military families, homeowners, seniors and those with disabilities. Investment in civil legal aid is one of the most effective ways to help Americans navigate the justice system and safeguard their basic legal rights, and I will continue to work with my colleagues – Democrats and Republicans – to protect this critical funding.”
According to a recent LSC study, 86% of the civil legal problems faced by those eligible for LSC-funded assistance receive inadequate or no legal help. The Congressional Access to Civil Legal Services Caucus seeks to educate members of Congress and their staffs about the urgent need to expand access to legal representation for low-income families