Roadblock Reemerges To BankruptcyBill

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WASHINGTON - (02/18/05) -- The newest version of bankruptcyreform bill passed its first big step Thursday with approval by theSenate Judiciary Committe, but once again the bill will be draggedinto the heated controversy over abortion rights--the same debatethat forced its demise in each of the last two congresses. New YorkSenator Charles Schumer and several of his Democratic colleagues onthe committee insisted they will fight the bill tooth and nailunless Senate leaders reinsert language that would prevent abortionclinic protesters from shielding their financial assets under thebankruptcy statute. Noting the main aim of the bill is to closeloopholes used by individuals to shield their debts from creditors,Schumer said the abortion clinic language is aimed at doing justthat. "Nobody ever intended bankruptcy laws as a shield for peoplewho use violence and threaten violence," said Schumer. "I will dowhatever I can to hold this bill up in every way until thatamendment is in this bill." While the Democrats have an uphillbattle in their efforts--they are out-numbered 55-to-45 in theSenate--the likelihood is they will launch a filibuster to stop thebill if they don't get their way on the Schumer amendment. Afilibuster will require 60 votes by the Republican majority to end,which means they will need five Democrats to join them. If theRepublicans can't get the 60 votes they will either have to add theSchumer amendment back to the bill--inviting another major fightwith the anti-abortion lobby--or let the bill die again.

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