Mr. MOLLOHAN. As part of his argument in support of the amendment to strike all funds and language for the Legal Services Corporation, the gentleman appeals to our concern about the national debt. [Page: H6937]
Well, we all have a concern about the national debt, and it's all about priorities. This amendment would attempt to effect a balancing of the national debt or a reduction of it on the backs of those who are the absolutely least able to afford it and making an extremely small contribution in the process.
Now, more than ever, the Legal Services Corporation really needs a healthy Federal appropriation. Difficult economic circumstances across the country are driving record numbers of Americans under the income thresholds that establish eligibility for Legal Services Corporation. Fifty-one million Americans are now eligible for legal aid, including, Mr. Chairman, 18 million children.
At the same time, non-Federal funding sources for legal aid are declining as State budget deficits and pressures on private charitable organizations have reduced legal aid contributions by outside entities. Now is the very time that legal aid needs Federal support. LSC providers already turn away one out of every two eligible clients who seek assistance. So already, in a difficult economy, when those seeking legal aid are becoming increasingly eligible, we're turning away 50 percent of those
who need the service.
With no Federal funding, as the gentleman has proposed in his amendment, Legal Services Corporation grantees would be forced to turn away even more clients who are in desperate need of help.
I urge Members to consider the true human impact of that proposal and oppose the amendment. And I go back to where I started. This is the wrong place to try to balance the budget, on the backs of those who are least able to make a contribution.
I oppose the amendment.
I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
The CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Hensarling).
The question was taken; and the Chair announced that the noes appeared to have it.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
The CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Texas will be postponed.
The CHAIR. The Clerk will read.