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Congress proposes cutting legal aid funding

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If an agreement between the members of Congress passes, Legal Services Corp. will see its budget reduced by 14 percent. The U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee had previously proposed cutting it by 17 percent.

A statement released Tuesday by LSC said a congressional agreement for the fiscal year 2012 would provide $348 million in funding to the organization. Of that, $322.4 million would fund basic field grants to provide civil legal assistance to low-income Americans. LSC received $398.1 million under an interim FY 2012 bill that expires Friday.

The House of Representatives had proposed $300 million in funding and the Senate had recommended $396.1 million. The agreement is scheduled to be taken up for a vote on the House floor this week.

LSC is the largest funder of civil legal aid and currently provides nearly $372 million in grants to 136 independent nonprofit legal aid programs around the country, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories. Indiana Legal Services Inc. receives about two-thirds of its funding from LSC. Those involved with ILS are concerned that any cut would be a difficult loss for ILS to absorb and that other funding for the organization has also taken a hit.
 

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