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WASHINGTON - (03/04/05) -- Just as the bankruptcy reform billgot tied up on the national debate on abortion rights in each ofthe last two congresses this year the opponents of the bill aretrying to throw everything they have at it, even a diversion to adebate over minimum wage. But an amendment by Democratic Sen. TedKennedy to lift the minimum wage from its current $5.15 an hour to$7.25 is expected to be defeated when the Senate takes a vote on itnext week. Thursday Republican supporters of the bill successfullyturned away several amendment by the Democrats that would haveclearly limited predatory lending. One of those would have cappedconsumer interest rates at 30% APR. The vote was 74-24 to scuttlean amendment by Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minn., who said consumers mustpay interest rates as high as 1,059% when they borrow money. "Thatgoes way beyond what we call predatory lending. That is`terroristic' lending," he said. But Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, saidDayton's proposal would pre-empt state laws, including those thatfix an interest rate ceiling below 30 percent. "There's no reasonto touch the state usury laws," he said.

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