After getting bogged down Tuesday in an Interior Department appropriations bill, the Senate is expected to consider the consumer bankruptcy reform bill today.

Senators initially planned to begin debate late Tuesday morning on the bill, which would let creditors ask judges to force debtors to repay some unsecured debt rather than discharge it all in bankruptcy. Currently only court-appointed trustees may make such requests.

Congressional sources said the new plan is to start debate Wednesday afternoon, with final passage unlikely until Thursday or Friday. However, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott warned late Tuesday during a press conference that debate could get pushed back to next week if lawmakers are unable to quickly resolve concerns over several unrelated bills.

Sources said Republicans are trying to ensure passage of bankruptcy reform by adding several measures favored by Democrats, including one provision that would require lenders to disclose on monthly statements how long it would take to pay off a balance by only making the minimum monthly payment. Lenders generally oppose that requirement, calling it unworkable.

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