BANKRUPTCY REFORM RETURNS TO HOUSE
WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee Wednesday is scheduled to take up bankruptcy reform legislation, with sponsors hoping that after four years of attempts, the measure will eventually become law.
The chances for the bill’s success have greatly improved with the election of President Bush, who has said he will sign bankruptcy reform legislation. President Clinton last year vetoed a bankruptcy bill, the identical one recently resubmitted in the House and Senate. He called the measure anticonsumer.
Retailers are among the businesses that have pushed for changes in bankruptcy laws, arguing debtors are often allowed to repay only a small portion of what they owe. The resurrected bankruptcy bill contains a means test that would determine whether someone falls into that category.
Having the identical bill resubmitted that received bipartisan support last year “is good news,” said Mallory Duncan, vice president and general counsel of the National Retail Federation.
There are consumer-related portions of the bill, with which retailers disagree, that are included in the legislation in order to meet Democrats’ demands. One provision, for example, would require all credit card statements to include a warning about the high cost of repaying debt if you only make minimum payments.
Duncan said it’s difficult to say whether the bill, including provisions opposed by retailers, might be changed, because, “we’re still early in the session.”