Bankruptcy Reform Bill Dies at End of Session
Congressional and White House negotiators failed to reach an agreement on the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1998, killing the bill for this Congress. The key areas of contention centered on the discretion to provide judges with under the consumer means test, new reaffirmation procedures and various provisions aimed at lender conduct, which were added in the Senate bill but stripped in conference.
The Conference Report to H.R. 3150 passed the House 300-125 on October 9, but faced opposition from a group of Democrat senators who made clear they would block a final vote in the Senate. The Clinton administration had threatened a veto of the conference product. Efforts to reach an accommodation and then attach the bankruptcy bill to a giant government spending bill came very close to success in the dying hours of the legislative session.
A few bankruptcy items made it into the omnibus appropriations bill, including a six-month extension of chapter 12, retroactive to October 1.
Both supporters and opponents of the legislation are already planning strategies for the 106th Congress. Senate sponsor Charles E. Grassley (R-IA) said he'd be "back next year to build support for fair and effective bankruptcy reform."
The prospects for the legislation will be one of the featured programs at the ABI's Winter Leadership Conference, Dec. 3-5 in Tucson, Ariz. The program features some of the key players in this year's action and is appropriately titled "Bankruptcy Reform Winners and Losers, and What Happens Next Season." Call 703-739-0800 to register, or view the full program online.