WASHINGTON-Credit unions and other financial service providers faced another year of disappointment in not seeing the passage of the bankruptcy reform legislation in 2001. Lobbyists were fairly certain it would pass this year, but the events of September 11 shifted congressional focus from domestic issues to an international war on terrorism. The bill has been in Congress for the last four years and nearly became law last year, only to be pocket vetoed by outgoing President Bill Clinton. Other than the terrorist attacks, two sticking points in the bill have been the homestead exemption, which House Republicans and President George W. Bush would like set higher, and the clinic violence amendment, which Republicans want eliminated. The bill included three credit union backed provisions: means testing for Chapter 7 filers, mandatory financial counseling prior to filing for bankruptcy, and voluntary reaffirmations for credit union members. Though the legislation passed both Houses of Congress by overwhelming margins, consumer advocacy groups and some liberal Democrats have opposed it as overly harsh on filers and favoring big business. However, the bill did find supporters like Senator Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) who cited credit unions as one of the reasons she supported the bill.

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