The Senate's vote on bankruptcy reform is expected to be delayed until after the Independence Day recess.
Republican leaders had planned to start debate this week on the bill, which seeks to stem the explosion of U.S. bankruptcy filings by imposing a needs test on debtors. But partisan clashes over gun and health-care legislation, combined with a glut of spending bills, have bogged down lawmakers.
The Senate, on vacation until July 12, is expected to take up bankruptcy by the end of the month, between votes on spending bills.
Banking industry officials fear the bill could be threatened by amendments involving a crackdown on credit card companies or separate issues such as health care or privacy. President Clinton has also threatened to veto the bill.
"We are anticipating a very messy floor debate," said Edward L. Yingling, chief lobbyist for the American Bankers Association, but "we are still cautiously optimistic" the bill will pass.
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved it 14 to 4 on April 27, but some Democrats have demanded more consumer protections. The House overwhelmingly approved its version on May 5 by a 313-to-108 tally.