Abortion Provision Won't Stop Bankruptcy Bill

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A group of about two-dozen House members opposed to abortion will express their disagreement to the abortion provision in the bankruptcy reform bill but don't have enough votes to defeat the credit union-backed measure when its comes to a final vote next month.

The group's reticence prevented the House, then the Senate, from voting on the bill in the days before Congress recessed for its summer break, even after an agreement was announced on the controversial abortion amendment.

"I don't know if the group that opposes it has enough votes to prevent it from going to the floor," said Derek Karshner, spokesperson for Rep. Mike Pence, the pro-life Indiana freshman garnering credit union support for a second term. "The congressman supports the bill, minus the abortion provision inserted by Sen. Schumer; unfortunately, the Schumer amendment will prevent him from voting for it when they return," Karshner told The Credit Union Journal. "He won't vote for the bill with the Schumer amendment in it. Abortion is one of his big voting issues."

The Schumer amendment, so-called for the New York Democrat who has lobbied hard for it, would prevent those convicted of crimes against abortion clinics from shielding their assets under the bankruptcy laws. House and Senate conferees agreed to the amendment last month, meaning that both chambers must vote the entire bill with the provision when they return in September.

Credit union lobbyists are confident their hard work on the bill, more than six years in the making, will finally pay off with a September vote. Despite continued opposition form certain lawmakers, like Sen. Paul Wellstone, the Minnesota Democrat, the bill is expected to pass both chambers by broad bipartisan margins. If so, President Bush has indicated he will sign it into law.

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