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Republican Tea Party Priority in Congress: Keep Poor People Away From Lawyers

Welcome to America, home of the free, where some people feel free to abuse people less powerful than them. If your employer is breaking the law, if your landlord won’t take care of poisons in your home, if someone is violating your rights, what can you do?

If you’ve got enough money — a $2,500 retaining fee plus $250 an hour is typical — you hire a lawyer.

If you don’t have that kind of money to burn, you’re out of luck, unless:

1) You find a lawyer who’s willing to not only work for you for free but also to cover various legal fees (lots of luck), or

2) You can get help from a legal aid center, which is most likely funded either directly or indirectly by the Legal Services Corporation, a non-profit organization that provides poor people with legal representation.

Five members of Congress have banded together to afflict the afflicted and comfort the comfortable by abolishing the Legal Services Corporation. The entirety of bill H.R. 350 reads:

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Legal Services Corporation Act is repealed.

Who would so boldly act to remove legal recourse for poor people? Representatives Austin Scott, Lynn Westmoreland, Mick Mulvaney, Jeb Hensarling and Jeff Duncan, that’s who. All of them are Republican, and three of the five are members of the Tea Party Caucus.

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