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WASHINGTON-Nearly a dozen Senate Democrats signed an April 1 letter to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) in support of bankruptcy reform as approved in the previous Congress’ conference committee on the bill. Spearheaded by Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), the letter read, “Unfortunately current law allows wealthy filers to use the system to shield their assets, avoid paying critical obligations such as child support and pass their debts on to responsible consumers. “After years of negotiation and compromise, a balanced bill emerged out of conference last year that would have addressed the worst flaws in federal bankruptcy law. We strongly believe that that bill should be the foundation from which we work in the 108th Congress.” The letter points out that last year’s conference report imposed limits on shielding assets, reprioritized payments, provided for more judges and gave them the authority to structure repayment plans, and preserved the right to bankruptcy protection for unforeseen difficulties. Eleven Senate Democrats signed the letter, including Carper, Charles Schumer (N.Y.); John Breaux (La.); Byron Dorgan (N.D.); Ben Nelson (Neb.); Tim Johnson (S.D.); Zell Miller (Ga.); Fritz Hollings (S.C.); Joe Biden (Del.); Blanche Lincoln (Ark.); and Mary Landrieu (La.). Last Congress, the final sticking point on the legislation was the clinic violence amendment championed by Schumer. He is expected to resurrect the issue this Congress as well.

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