U.S. House and Senate have passed bankruptcy reform bills to force
people with means to repay debts through Chapter 13 repayment
plans instead of discharging debts through Chapter 7 - but the
bill is on life support over a dispute involving abortion protesters.
say a record number of bankruptcy filings (1.5 million over 12
months), means too many people walk away from their debts when
they can afford to repay. More than 70 percent of last quarter's
bankruptcy filings were Chapter 7 cases, according to press reports.
final passage awaits resolution of a dispute about whether protesters
who block abortion clinics can use bankruptcy to avoid paying
court judgments or fines. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) added a provision
to deny bankruptcy protection to pro-life advocates.
who support bankruptcy reform object to Schumer's provision, saying
activists often face thousands of dollars in fines and legal fees
for praying on a sidewalk, if it impedes a person's access to
an abortion clinic.
credit card companies are not happy - they reportedly gave Republicans
$41.5 million and Democrats $21.5 million between 1995 and 2001
to defeat the bill, according to press reports.