Legal Services Corporation: Basic Facts and Current Status Page: 1 of 6
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Order Code 95-178 EPW
Updated February 20, 2003
CRS Report for Congress
Received through the CRS Web
Legal Services Corporation:
Basic Facts and Current Status
Domestic Social Policy Division
The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is a private nonprofit, federally funded
corporation that helps provide legal assistance to low-income people in civil matters.
Although the authorization of appropriations for the Corporation expired at the end of
FY1980, the LSC has operated for the past 22 years under annual appropriations laws.
P.L. 107-77, the FY2002 appropriations bill (H.R. 2500) for the Departments of
Commerce, Justice, State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies was signed into law on
November 28, 2001. It included $329.3 million for the LSC, the amount requested by
the Bush Administration. Current funding still remains below the Corporation's highest
level of $400 million in FY1994 and FY1995. For FY2003, the Bush Administration
requested the current level funding of $329.3 million for the LSC. On July 18, 2002, the
Senate Appropriations Committee recommended a total of $329.4 million for the LSC
(S. 2778, See S.Rept. 107-218). The House did not introduce a bill for CJS
appropriations for FY2003. H.J.Res. 18, the eighth continuing resolution for FY2003
appropriations, passed by both the House and Senate, continued funding of the LSC at
the FY2002 level through February 20, 2003. Before the eighth continuing resolution
expired, both the House and the Senate agreed to the conference report on H.J.Res. 2 (as
amended) on February 13, 2003. This measure is an omnibus appropriations bill that
among other things increases LSC funding by $9.5 million to $338.8 million for
FY2003. This short report provides background information and tracks relevant
legislation and appropriations measures. This report is continually updated.
The federal government has administered a program of legal services for the poor
since 1966. Originally, the program was administered through the Office of Economic
Opportunity, a now-defunct agency that had spearheaded the War on Poverty in the mid-
1960s. In 1971, President Nixon proposed establishment of a separate corporation to
deliver legal services to insulate the program from political pressure. Authorizing
legislation was enacted in 1974 (P.L. 93-355), and the LSC came into existence the
following year. In 1977, Congress extended the Legal Services Corporation Act through
FY1980 (P.L. 95-222). Congress has not succeeded in reauthorizing the LSC statute since
Congressional Research Service V The Library of Congress
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Legal Services Corporation: Basic Facts and Current Status, report, February 20, 2003; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc809454/m1/1/: accessed October 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.