BANKRUPTCY BILL SET TO PASS

WASHINGTON — The Senate is close to voting on a bankruptcy reform bill today or Friday, after lawmakers on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to end debate on the measure.
The legislation, which contains a means test that would require some debtors to repay at least a portion of their debt, has already cleared the House and is expected to pass the Senate. An almost identical bill passed the chamber last year, with 70 voting in favor. That bill was ultimately vetoed by President Clinton. President Bush has said he’ll sign this year’s bill.
The Senate voted Wednesday, 80 to 19, to end debate on this year’s measure, ending several days of attempts by some Democrats to include more consumer provisions, like restricting credit solicitations to minors. Retailers were among the interest groups pressing the hardest for reform.
Mallory Duncan, vice president and general counsel with the National Retail Federation, said that “all indications for a strong vote on final passage are there.”