Magazine article American Banker

Bankruptcy Bill Returns, Perhaps for the Last Time

Magazine article American Banker

Bankruptcy Bill Returns, Perhaps for the Last Time

Article excerpt

As lawmakers prepared to take what could be the final stab at moving long-stalled bankruptcy overhaul legislation today, a key Republican downplayed predictions this is a make-or-break week for the bill and vowed to keep at it for the rest of the year, if necessary.

The media have "pronounced this bill dead two or three times in the last year, year and half," House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., said during a press conference Tuesday. "But if you declare it dead again, I will continue to try to resuscitate it."

The bill has been stuck in conference committee since the House and Senate passed separate versions last year. It got moved to the back burner after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but the biggest obstacle has been its provision dealing with violence against abortion clinics and protests of other lawful services.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., successfully won an amendment to the Senate-passed bill that would prohibit people charged with violent crimes or civil disobedience from having their fines discharged later in bankruptcy court.

Rep. Henry J. Hyde, R-Ill., a House conferee, is a staunch abortion opponent and has vigorously opposed including the provision in the final bill because it is aimed mainly at abortion-clinic protestors.

Any compromise not endorsed by Rep. Hyde would sink the bill, Rep. Sensenbrenner, the chairman of the conference committee, predicted. He said that too many anti-abortion House conferees would vote down a final bill that Rep. Hyde does not approve.

Though lobbyists see the committee's meeting scheduled for 2 p.m. today as a last stand -- the Coalition for Responsible Bankruptcy Laws took out a two-page advertisement in Tuesday's CQ Daily Monitor, a widely read Capitol Hill newsletter, and bankers were reportedly putting a full-court press on Sen. …

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