Saying civil legal aid can help make the American Jobs Plan “work the way Congress intends,” the Legal Services Corp. is requesting supplement funding between $350 million and $500 million be included in the infrastructure package proposed by the Biden administration.
The $2.3 trillion plan unveiled by the White House March 31 seeks to improve the nation’s roads, bridges and public transit, replace lead water pipes, upgrade the power grid, expand broadband internet and modernize schools, among other things.
LSC said civil legal aid has a vital role in implementing the American Jobs Plan. With their extensive experience, legal aid attorneys can work through the complicated laws and rules the plan will contain and make sure the benefits go to the intended people and communities, LSC said.
“Legal aid can help make the American Jobs Plan work the way Congress intends,” said LSC president Ronald Flagg. “The plan’s multitude of economic and other benefits are not self-executing — legal aid can ensure these benefits reach the people who the legislation was meant to help.”
LSC is the funding source for 132 grantee organizations across the country, including Indiana Legal Services. The national nonprofit has submitted a funding request to Congress, outlining the need for civil legal aid and how LSC grantees can help with the plan’s implementation.
“Legal aid lawyers have extensive experience helping individuals realize the promise of legislation for good jobs, fair wages, safe working conditions, improved public transit, affordable housing, and the many other goals” in the plan, the request states. “Furthermore, legal aid programs are a central part of communities that have historically been excluded or harmed by some past infrastructure programs.
Previously, LSC had appealed for supplemental appropriation as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. However, the reconciliation process under which the spending bill was passed blocked Congress from considering the funding request.
The legal aid organization is now preparing to request an appropriation of just over $1 billion from the 2022 federal budget.