Thursday, February 10, 2005


Well, odds are the bankruptcy bill which was miraculously killed a couple of times is coming back to life.

Republican leaders in Congress began clearing the way yesterday for swift passage of legislation backed by the credit card industry and opposed by consumer groups that would make it harder for consumers to wipe out debt through bankruptcy.

Congress has tried repeatedly in recent years to pass similar legislation in what would be the most significant change in bankruptcy law in more than a quarter of a century. Twice in the last seven years, bankruptcy bills have passed both the House and Senate, only to face ultimate defeat. In one case, President Clinton refused to sign the legislation, saying it was unfair to consumers. In 2002, House Republicans initially backed the bill but then voted it down after an amendment was attached that sought to prevent individuals from using bankruptcy to shield them from fines imposed for illegal antiabortion protests.

Now two nearly identical bills have been introduced in Congress in the last week that are essentially the same as what House and Senate negotiators worked out in the last Congress, but lacking the controversial abortion amendment. The absence of the amendment, plus the Republican leadership's decision to begin deliberation now, early in the legislative cycle, has industry officials and lawmakers hoping a bill can become law within weeks.

It's unfair, but there are moments when I just want to scream -- "THIS IS WHAT YOU VOTED FOR!!!!"