September 23rd, 2019
Federal lawmakers have agreed not to shut down the federal government as they continue to emphatically disagree on many funding and policy issues. Last week, the House passed a short-term funding bill that would maintain existing spending levels until the end of November. The Senate is expected to take up similar legislation this week. This bill, fairly unusually, includes funding adjustments, including additional money for the 2020 census and health care related programs that are set to expire at the end of September. Other issues, like the border wall, continue to frustrate lawmakers as they attempt to outline and approve funding for the current fiscal year.
As a reminder, on June 25th, the House of Representatives passed the package of FY 2020 appropriations bills that includes the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies funding bill. The final legislation of this bill provides $550 million for the Legal Services Corporation, an increase of $135 million above fiscal year 2019, and just $43 million under the requested amount from LSC. This Tuesday and Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Commerce, Justice, Science Sub-Committee are analyzing and voting on parallel legislation. While we do not yet know what the numbers will look like in regards to LSC funding, we expect the final number to look closer to last years appropriation total of $415 million. We expect both committee mark-ups to be filled with contentious debate surrounding issues like border wall construction and the 2020 census.
OneJustice will continue to monitor the federal government funding process, particularly its impact on funding for legal services. Sign up for Californians for Legal Aid to stay up to date on federal funding and to receive advocacy alerts.