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Craig D. Robins, Esq. New York Bankruptcy Attorney, Longisland bankruptcy attorney

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Craig D. Robins, Esq.

The 2004 Congress Moves Quickly to Toughen Bankruptcy Laws

Posted on Monday (February 23, 2004) at 3:32 pm to Bankruptcy Legislation
Suffolk Lawyer

Reform Legislation Has Gathered Momentum. For each of the last six years, it appeared inevitable that new bankruptcy legislation would be enacted by the end of that year. In addition, the pro-bankruptcy reform Bush administration made it more likely that the bankruptcy laws would be overhauled. Interestingly, M.B.N.A., the nation’s largest credit card bank, was also the largest contributor to the Bush presidential election.

In the Spring of 2001, the legislation swiftly moved through Congress and the House overwhelming approved the reform bill. It appeared that the bill would become the first major piece of legislation to be signed by President Bush. However, the bill became saddled in the Senate when maverick Vermont Republican Senator Jim Jeffords switched parties, effectively destroying the Republican Senate majority. This had the effect of delaying any forward movement of the bill in the Senate, especially considering that Jeffords’ jump shifted leadership of the Judiciary Committee overseeing the bankruptcy bill from Republican to Democrat. Just before the Senate had an opportunity to fully address the bill, the World Trade Center fell and the Pentagon was hit.

In the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, bankruptcy reform legislation slipped from the Congressional agenda and again reached another stalemate as new Congressional priorities centered on critical national defense matters related to the attacks.

In 2002, Congress again appeared to come close to approving new legislation. However, our own New York Senator, Charles Schumer, sponsored an amendment aimed at stopping abortion opponents from evading subsequent fines by declaring bankruptcy. Suddenly, the entire debate on bankruptcy reform became consumed by abortion rights arguments. This caused a surprising defeat to the bill.

Enactment Appeared Likely Last Year. In 2003, with Republicans again taking control of the Senate, it appeared even more likely that a new bill would emerge quickly. Spring of 2003 saw the introduction of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2003, which was essentially the same bankruptcy reform bill that the Senate passed the previous year. The bill was quickly passed by the House. This was the seventh time in recent years that the House passed an omnibus bankruptcy reform measure. However, the Senate version of the bill never made it through to a vote.

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Craig D. Robins, Esq. is a Long Island bankruptcy lawyer, who is focused primarily on helping individuals and families, find solutions to their debt problems. Read more »


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Craig D. Robins, Esq.
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