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Bankruptcy Reform

It looks like bankruptcy reform is a done deal after the House decided to drop the controversial abortion clinic provision attached to the bill. And, with the Republicans coming into full control next year, you can bet your bottom dollar the new bankruptcy laws will take effect before the end of 2003. It was a week of high-wire drama as the legislation looked dead-in-water Thursday afternoon, only to be revived Friday morning. Yesterday, the House rejected the rule on the conference report to H.R. 333 by a vote of 172-243. The margin was provided by more than 90 House Republicans and pro-life Democrats opposed to the abortion clinic amendment. But House Republican leaders this morning dropped a controversial provision, and quickly passed it. The revised bill, which deletes the abortion clinic provision, now goes to the Senate. Adding some pressure to the Democrats, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops sent a letter to members of Congress, expressing concern that the abortion clinic language attacks the rights of peaceful pro-life protesters. The group stated that “the language will be used to take away the savings, homes and other property of low- and middle-income peaceful protesters to pay fines and the attorneys’ fees of their opponents.” Republicans have insisted the Democrats are to blame for legislation roller coaster ride since they introduced the controversial abortion-related provision into the bankruptcy reform bill.

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