California Bar Journal
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Bush budget holds firm on LSC funding

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In the budget he submitted to Congress last month, President Bush held firm on funding for the Legal Services Corp., requesting the same allocation for next year that the organization currently receives.

As part of his $1.96 trillion plan, Bush requested funding of $329 million for LSC, which provides direct grants to independent local legal services programs for the poor throughout the country. The proposed amount would be allocated as follows: $310 million for basic field programs, $4.4 million for client self-help and information technology, $12.4 million for management and administration and $2.5 million for the office of the inspector general.

In language accompanying the budget request, Bush offered a solid statement of support for the LSC:

"The federal government, through LSC, ensures equal access to our nation's legal system by providing funding for civil legal assistance to low-income persons. For millions of Americans, LSC-funded legal services is the only resource available to access the justice system . . . LSC programs serve clients in every state and county in the nation. Last year, LSC-funded programs provided legal assistance and information to almost one million clients."

LSC President John McKay said the decision means "LSC has a new lease on bipartisan support. This is the strongest statement yet from President Bush that he cares deeply about ensuring equal access to the justice system in America."