Fw: now-action-list Update on Bankruptcy Bill - Immediate Calls Needed

Bruce D. Burleson (anvil@quik.com)
Thu, 14 May 1998 01:45:53 -0400


----------
> From: National Organization for Women <now@now.org>
> To: now-action-list@now.org
> Subject: now-action-list Update on Bankruptcy Bill - Immediate Calls
Needed
> Date: Wednesday, May 13, 1998 5:50 PM
> 
> Feel free to forward the following to activists in its entirety or with
> proper attribution:
> 
> >From the National Organization for Women Action Center:
> 
>                  ACTION ALERT
> UPDATE ON BANKRUPTCY BILL - IMMEDIATE CALLS NEEDED
>                  MAY 13, 1998
> 
> 
> Update:  The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee meets tomorrow, Thursday,
May
> 14th, to make changes in the so-called Consumer Bankruptcy Reform Act of
> 1998 (S. 1301).  As a previous Action Alert reported, several of the
> proposed changes in highly technical bankruptcy law would make credit
card
> debt incurred 90 days prior to filing for bankruptcy a non-dischargeable
> debt.  This means that credit card debts would be placed on the same
> footing with child support, alimony, taxes and student loans.  Because
> there is often a limited amount of dollars available to pay these debts,
> chances are that past due support obligations may not be met or may be
> delayed. 
> 
> The huge outcry from activists over the impact which changes in
> non-dischargeable debt may have on support obligations has been very
> effective. The House Judiciary Committee is currently embroiled in a
debate
> over how to "fix" the child support/alimony problem and other aspects.
But
> the proposed amendment changes are cosmetic and a very bad bill is likely
> to emerge.  H.R. 3150, the House counterpart of S. 1301, may go to a
floor
> vote before the Memorial Day Recess, May 22 - June 1. 
> 
> On the Senate side, the same scenario may occur soon.  None of the
proposed
> amendments solves the child support/alimony problem or other severe
defects
> in the legislation. Negotiations between Democrats and Republicans on the
> committee are not going well.  S. 1301 looks like it would still leave
many
> women very vulnerable. 
> 
> Other problems: S. 1301 is a radical bill that significantly weakens
> consumer rights and strengthens the hand of highly profitable lending
> institutions.  It needs to be stopped in committee or dealt a final blow
on
> the floor. A floor vote may happen at any point in the near future. Here
> are a few of the other problems of interest to women; S. 1301 would:
> 
>     -- Eliminate the right of many debtors to use the bankruptcy system
to
> pay past due rent and prevent eviction, thus increasing homelessness.
> 
>     -- Undermine debtor's attempts to save their homes from foreclosure
by
> redirecting money to legal fees and credit card debts which could
otherwise
> be used to get caught up on mortgage payments.
> 
>      -- Invade the privacy of debtors by making their tax returns
publicly
> available.
> 
>      -- Allow creditors to take children's toys, VCRs and many other
items
> by changing the longstanding definition of household goods, thus
permitting
> creditors to seize a wide variety of personal possessions.
>   
>      -- Encourage continued reckless lending practices and abusive
lawsuits
> by allowing creditors to claim fraud against borrowers without having to
> prove it.
> 
>       -- Create new eligibility barriers, filing requirements and
> procedural hurdles which would be expensive for debtors to meet.  These
new
> impediments would preclude effective debt relief for those at the bottom
of
> the economic spectrum.  Many working families will be too poor to afford
> bankruptcy.
> 
> How you can help: Please call your Senators immediately to urge them to
> vote against the bill in committee and on the Senate floor.  S. 1301 is
> profoundly flawed and cannot be improved by amendment.  Tell Senators
that
> more hearings need to be held and that because bankruptcy law and
> procedures are very complex, considerable caution must be taken. In
> particular, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), a sponsor of S. 1301, needs to hear
> from activists that the bill should not go forward.  Other Senators who
> especially need to receive calls are: Dianne Feinstein (CA), Chris Dodd
> (CT), Patrick Leahy (VT), and Robert Torricelli (NJ) -- all Democrats. 
> 
> All Senators should be called and Judiciary Committee members in
> particular: Republicans are Chair Orrin Hatch (UT), 224-5251; Strom
> Thurmond (SC),224-5972; Charles Grassley (IA), 224-3744; Arlen Specter
> (PA), 224-4254; Fred Thompson (TN), 224-4944; Jon Kyl (AZ), 224-4521;
Mike
> DeWine (OH), 224-2315;  John Ashcroft (MO), 224-6154; Spencer Abraham
(MI),
> 224-4822; Jeff Sessions (AL) 224-4124. Democrats on the Committee are:
> Patrick Leahy Jr. (VT), 224-4242; Ted Kennedy (MA), 224-4543; Joseph
Biden
> Jr. (DE), 224-5042; Herbert Kohl (WI), 224-5653; Dianne Feinstein (CA),
> 224-3841; Russ Feingold (WI), 224-5323; Richard Durbin (IL), and Robert
> Torricelli (NJ). All numbers are at Area Code 202.
> 
> House members may be contacted with the same message.. The main number
for
> the Capitol is 202-224-3121 and fax numbers, e-mail addresses can be
found
> at http://www.visi.com/juan/congress .
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