Last-Minute Effort On Bankruptcy Bill Fails

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The last-minute machinations of Congress as it struggles to complete its year-end work is often amusing.

This year those machinations included a failed bid to move the dormant bankruptcy reform bill by attaching it to the broad omnibus spending package still awaiting final congressional action. The comprehensive bankruptcy reform package, in the works for more than eight years, has been on the verge of passage several times but has been held up by the controversial provision banning abortion clinic protesters from shielding their assets under bankruptcy law.

Enter Senate Republican leaders Charles Grassley of Iowa and Orrin Hatch of Utah, two main architects of the bill, who tried to secretly attach the long-stalled measure, minus the controversial abortion protester provision, onto the spending package.

However, the two supporters were forced to back off after the initiative was made public, according to one credit union lobbyist familiar with the strategy.

The desperation move caused such an outcry among lawmakers that the two senators had to withdraw it.

"We've had discussions about it for some time behind the scenes about looking for every possible opening," said the lobbyist, who insisted they will continue their efforts to get the bankruptcy bill passed.

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