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WASHINGTON-The Senate spent the better part of last week debating the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (S. 265), but a new wrinkle has appeared for proponents. At a press conference he called last week, Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) said he plans to introduce numerous amendments in an attempt to derail the bill that has been formulated over nearly a decade. The senator was joined at the press conference by State Employees Credit Union CEO Jim Blaine, consistently a staunch opponent of the bill, and the CEO of ING Direct, the sixth largest thrift institution in the country. Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) were also at the press conference. Kennedy said in a statement that the bill “is supposed to be a bill about spendthrifts, about people who abuse the credit system and abuse the bankruptcy system. If that were really what the bill was about, maybe there would be some reason for us to be here. “If this were a bill that dealt with the truly incredible abuses of the bankruptcy system that we have seen in the Enron case, in the WorldCom case, in the Adelphia case and the Polaroid case in my own state, then maybe there would be a reason to be spending our time working on this bill.” Just before filing for bankruptcy, Polaroid canceled health and life insurance benefits for 6,000 retirees, he said. The credit union trade associations have backed the bill-particularly provisions for mandatory financial education, means testing, and voluntary reaffirmations for credit union members. From the stage at CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference, CUNA President and CEO Dan Mica urged the credit union representatives to continue pushing for the original version of the bill as opposed to the new one, which he said, “could complicate things for us.” NAFCU Associate Director of Legislative Affairs Dillon Shea said he “did not see anything too troublesome or anything unexpected” come out of the press conference. “That’s what senators do. They hold press conferences about important bills.” NAFCU Senior Legislative Representative Murray Chanow said there could be hundreds of amendments filed by the Democrats, including Kennedy, Feingold, and Schumer. “It is unclear at what point in time the proponents of the bill will file for cloture on the bill,” he said. [email protected]

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