Consumer Payment Card News

No Bill For Bill

President Bill says “No” to the bankruptcy reform bill. Last week the U.S. House passed the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1999 and the U.S. Senate is likely to take its vote on the same bill at the end of this week. However U.S. President Clinton immediately threatened to veto the 420-page bill. The White House says Clinton has problems with two provisions, one that permits wealthy bankruptcy filers to keep their homes and another that allows violent demonstrators at abortion clinics to use the bankruptcy laws to discharge fines and damages. In general the bill makes it harder for consumers to file for Chapter 7 when there is some ability to repay debts. Many consumers will be forced into a Chapter 13 debt repayment plan. The bankruptcy reform bill has slowly made its way through the reconciling process after the House and Senate passed different versions of the bill early this year. The delay has been attributed to the inclusion of consumer-protection provisions such as the requirement that lenders disclose how long it will take to pay off a credit card, if only the minimum payment is made. Despite intense lobbying by the credit card industry, the bill passed last week does require card issuers to include on billing statements a chart that shows the costs associated with making minimum payments.

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