WASHINGTON — Retailers scored a victory Wednesday when the House passed bankruptcy reform legislation that would make it harder to entirely wipe out debt in bankruptcy court, but the industry will have to hold off celebrating.

This is the fourth attempt to push bankruptcy reform legislation through Congress since 1997. Although bills have passed both chambers three times, last-minute negotiations reconciling House and Senate versions have stalled. Last year’s hang up was an unrelated amendment targeting anti-abortion protesters seeking to dissolve debt stemming from clinic violence.

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