WASHINGTON - House leaders were poised to name as early as Tuesday evening a contingent of lawmakers to serve on a bankruptcy legislation conference committee.
The roster is expected to include House Financial Services Committee Chairman Michael Oxley, R-Ohio; ranking Democrat John LaFalce, D-N.Y.; financial institutions subcommittee Chairman Spencer Bachus, R-Ala.; and Rep. Melvin Watt, D-N.C., who also serves on the House Judiciary Committee, which has primary jurisdiction over bankruptcy overhaul legislation.
Reps. Oxley, LaFalce, and Bachus would be responsible for the banking provisions in the voluminous measure, including changes to disclosures required under the Truth in Lending Act and "netting" provisions that deal with how financial agreements are unwound in corporate bankruptcies.
The 13 Senate conferees, all from the Senate Judiciary Committee, were announced in July. The naming of House conferees from Financial Services and other panels, including the Energy and Commerce Committee, is not expected to move Senate leaders to add members from its equivalent committees, particularly since Senate Banking Committee Chairman Paul Sarbanes is said to have declined an earlier offer from Senate leaders to bring Senate Banking representatives to the conference. Among the conferees from Senate Judiciary is Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., who also serves on Senate Banking.
The House-Senate conference committee is expected to convene this fall to reconcile the differences between the bankruptcy overhaul bills each chamber passed independently in March. The legislation would establish a "means test" to determine whether people should be allowed to file for protection under Chapter 7 of the federal Bankruptcy Code, which discharges filers from credit card and other unsecured debts. It would make more debtors file under Chapter 13, which requires them to pay off most or all of their debts.