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WASHINGTON-The apparent day of reckoning for bankruptcy reform opponents passed April 14 when, after an eight-year struggle, the credit union-backed bill was approved by a vote of 302-126. The Senate, which has been the traditional stumbling block for the legislation, passed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (S. 256) March 10 by a vote of 74-25. The House and Senate bills were identical, thereby sidestepping a conference, which has also been tricky in the past. Credit unions had their eyes on the means test, mandatory financial counseling, and maintaining voluntary reaffirmations – all of which made it in the final bill. President George W. Bush is expected to sign the bill into law. “The bill. balances these issues with the continued protection of the rights of consumer in genuine need of relief to seek it through the bankruptcy laws,” CUNA CEO Dan Mica commented. House Judiciary Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), from the House floor, said 40% of credit union losses in 2004 were from bankruptcies.

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