Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) Click here to email Congressman Boucher 'The typical American family pays a hidden tax of $550 each year because of increased charges for credit and higher prices for goods and services attributed to bankruptcies of mere convenience. Web posted and Copyright © February 25, 1999, American Bankruptcy Institute.

Statements Made Upon the Introduction of the
"Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1999"
February 24, 1999


Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.)
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"The typical American family pays a hidden tax of $550 each year because of increased charges for credit and higher prices for goods and services attributed to bankruptcies of mere convenience.

"Bankruptcies of convenience are driving this enormous increase. Bankruptcy was never meant to be used as a financial planning tool, but it is becoming a first stop rather than a last resort because our current bankruptcy system encourages people to walk away from their debts regardless of whether they have the ability to repay any portion of what they owe."

Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio)

"We probably would have passed this bill in the last Congress but essentially ran out of time."

Rep. George Gekas (R-Pa.)

"Our bill then and now provides for the fresh start that is required for the individual and family that finds itself in financial bedlam that they have no choice by to get a fresh start.

"With the overwhelming margin voting in favor of the bill, it could not be anything but a bipartisan result."

Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.)

"Our nation’s bankruptcy system is one of the world’s most progressive, and we must keep it that way. ... Congress must confront the [bankruptcy] issue directly and curb abusive and predatory practices of those who would game the system."

Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas)
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"This is old legislation that has risen its unseemly head. ...The bill doesn’t deal with the constant pounding of credit card opportunities and the opportunity for debt.

"The constituents used to support this legislation last year need to really wake up and find out if this is the way you want to go."

Rep. Bill McCollum (R-Fla.)
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"Bankruptcy will cost consumers more than $50 billion in 1998 alone. That translates into over $550 per household in higher costs for goods, services and credit. If we do not make reforms now, responsible borrowers and consumers will continue to pay the prices in the form of higher costs for goods, services and credit."

Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.)
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"The current bylaws are in dire need of reform. ... No one’s rights will be taken away; a judge will always make the final call on all of these matters.

"[Bankruptcy] should not be an easy way to pile up debts people have no interest paying on."

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.)
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"This bill would still allow credit card companies to have their debts survive bankruptcy and force children to compete with the credit card companies for the debtor’s post-bankruptcy income–something they do not have to do now.

"The bill uses an inflexible, one-size-fits all formula for deciding how much families can repay, which relies on guidelines written by IRS bureaucrats for an entirely different purpose.

"This bill is the purest case study of why we are in need of campaign finance reform."

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas)
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"Companies, banks, credit unions and other financial institutions who loan money to people do that with the expectation that the person is going to pay back that which they have taken. ... Reasonableness is what this bill is all about.

"The Rules Committee is aware of this bill and we’ll shepherd than on through very quickly."

Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.)
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"There are two reasons why it is important to pass this bill: 1. It is important to show the American people that we can work together. ... 2. It’s important to show the American people that we can fix a law prejudiced against people who clearly want to do the right thing."

*While not all Congressmen have email addresses, communications can be sent to them by U.S. mail, care of
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515


Coalition for Financial Responsibility

"We support this bill because it embodies the principles of fairness and personal responsibility. No one wants to take away the option of filing for bankruptcy by those who have suffered a serious financial crisis and need the opportunity for a fresh start. This bill will ensure that those individuals have access to the bankruptcy system just as they always have.

"But the bill will also ensure that higher-income filers re required to repay what they can afford."

Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union and National Consumer Law Center

"This version of bankruptcy reform would be disastrous for American families with financial problems. Instead, we urge you to consider a more targeted and balanced approach, which ends abuse by debtors and creditors, while preserving meaningful access for those in need of bankruptcy protection."

National Bankruptcy Conference

"Re-introduction of this omnibus bankruptcy bill is especially disappointing because it disregards the policy concerns expressed by the Administration, over 20 groups representing the interest of women and children, civil rights groups, and consumer advocates, along with a variety of other groups."

National Retail Federation

"[The] legislation provides complete relief for those consumers who encounter serious financial difficulties. However, the legislation would also ensure that those who blatantly misuse the system to wipe out debts that they can afford to pay would not be allowed to do so."

National Women’s Law Center and National Partnership for Women & Families

"Contrary to claims by some, the child support enforcement provisions included in the bill do not adequately protect women and children. Although in some cases they will simplify the procedures for collecting child support during bankruptcy, they do not address the fundamental problems created by the bill: the fewer debtors will be able to get their finances re-ordered in bankruptcy, that more non-child support debts will survive bankruptcy and compete with the payment of child support, and that custodial parents forced into bankruptcy will lose protections against eviction and other coercive practices."

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

"[T]he bill would close a number of loopholes in current law that encourages debtors to take advantage of the system and avoid paying their debts. This legislation provides a fair needs-based system that takes debtors’ special circumstances into account while assuring that those who can afford to pay are required to do so.


Philip Strauss, Assistant District Attorney
Family Support Bureau for the City and County of San Francisco

"Congress, in working with the states, has closed all loopholes [to avoid repayment of child support] but those permitted by [the bankruptcy process]. This bill will keep family support out of the bankruptcy system.

"This bill will drastically improve the ability of people like myself to enforce child support obligations while people are in bankruptcy."