FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MARCH 16, 2017 || Contacts: Lauren Saunders (lsaunders(at)nclc.org), (202) 595-7845 or Jan Kruse (jkruse(at)nclc.org)
Trump calls for elimination of Legal Services Corp, home energy assistance(WASHINGTON) The budget proposal outlined by President Trump today calls for the elimination of programs that have bipartisan support, save homes from foreclosure, and protect seniors, struggling families, and veterans, according to advocates at the National Consumer Law Center.
“Legal services programs in every state and every county around the country are there to help seniors, struggling families and veterans when they need legal help to save their homes from foreclosure, protect the Social Security funds they need to buy food, or stop an abuser from stalking them,” said Rich DuBois, executive director of the National Consumer Law Center.
“This is a reverse Robin Hood budget, taking from working families to give tax cuts to the super rich. When Wall Street bankers wrecked our economy and used robo-signed paperwork to kick people out of their homes, legal services programs were there to give people a fighting chance. Candidate Trump promised that ‘Our campaign is about protecting those who have no power.’ Legal services programs do just that,” added Lauren Saunders, associate director of the National Consumer Law Center.
Many programs funded by the Legal Services Program (LSC) give special help to military members and veterans, including through StatesideLegal.org. “Our military and veterans will suffer if we eliminate legal services programs that serve those who serve us,” Saunders noted. LSC has broad bipartisan support. Last week, the heads of over 150 law firms, both Republicans and Democrats, in all 50 states, sent a letter defending LSC, and so did the Conference of Chief Justices, signed by Kentucky Chief Justice John Minton Jr.–a Republican appointee–and the Conference of State Court Administrators.
The proposed budget would also eliminate the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Weatherization Assistance Program, which both protect the health and safety of families with seniors, young children, and individuals with disabilities in all 50 states. “LIHEAP literally saves lives by helping working families in Wisconsin keep the heat on and preventing fragile seniors in Mississippi from suffering heat stroke in the summer,” said Olivia Wein, National Consumer Law Center staff attorney. “The Weatherization Program is a cost-effective program that helps seniors and other struggling families with older homes lower their utility bills so they can afford to remain in their homes,” she explained.
The proposed budget also eliminates or deeply cuts many other programs that help vulnerable students, seniors and families, including the work-study program, housing assistance, job training for low-income, unemployed seniors , and grants to banks and credit unions that support financial services in underserved communities, on top of Medicaid cuts he has endorsed. “Trump pledged: ‘On every issue, our campaign is about making life better for working people.’ This budget will make life better for the wealthy and worse for working people who live paycheck to paycheck, including many voters who supported President Trump,” Saunders said.
Since 1969, the nonprofit National Consumer Law Center® (NCLC®) has used its expertise in consumer law and energy policy to work for consumer justice and economic security for low-income and other disadvantaged people, including older adults, in the United States. NCLC’s expertise includes policy analysis and advocacy; consumer law and energy publications; litigation; expert witness services, and training and advice for advocates. NCLC works with nonprofit and legal services organizations, private attorneys, policymakers, and federal and state government and courts across the nation to stop exploitative practices, help financially stressed families build and retain wealth, and advance economic fairness.