In September, Congress passed an appropriations measure that maintained level funding for government agencies through November 21. With that deadline looming, little progress has been made in budget negotiations. Appropriations leaders are discussing another continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown. House leadership passed a continuing resolution on Monday that funds the government until December 20. Senate leadership is expected to vote on this legislation today. The reason for the current delay is continued disagreement on subcommittee allocation levels.
Though the House and Senate agreed to an overall spending limit for FY2020 in September, Democrats and Republicans differ on how that spending should be divided. The fight on overall allocations is primarily driven by the Senate’s inclusion of $8.6 billion to help construct a wall along the southern border, while the House includes nothing for that function. At the same time, the House-passed proposals exceed the amount subsequently agreed with the Senate and these will need to be brought in line with the September budget agreement. When those issues are resolved, appropriators will be able to complete program-level negotiations, which will include the budget for the Legal Services Corporation (“LSC”).
As a reminder, on October 31st, the Senate passed an appropriations bill that includes $425.5 million for LSC, a $10.5 million increase from FY 2019. On June 25th, the House of Representatives passed the package of appropriations bills that provides $550 million for LSC, an increase of $135 million above fiscal year 2019, and just $43 million under the requested amount.
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.