WASHINGTON - While citing some "progress" in negotiations over bankruptcy reform, President Clinton again threatened congressional leaders with a veto of the legislation if several remaining disputes are not settled to his satisfaction.
"It is very important that the resolution of these issues be fair and that we ensure that we do not erode protections for all debtors when targeting the few who abuse the system," the President wrote in a June 9 letter to the leaders of both parties in the House and Senate. "The outcome will determine whether the final bill tips the scales."
The President listed five concerns he has with a tentative compromise to reconcile House and Senate versions, including: failing to prevent wealthy debtors from using "overly broad" homestead exemptions to shield assets from creditors; weakening the Senate bill's credit card statement disclosure requirements to protect consumers; eliminating protections from creditors for retirement savings; and diluting an amendment by Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., to prevent convicted abortion clinic attackers from filing for bankruptcy to escape court judgments.
"I sincerely hope that balanced, bipartisan bankruptcy reform will be completed this year, but I will not hesitate to veto unfair legislation that fails the test of balance," the President said.
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle, Sen. Schumer, and Sen. Charles E. Grassley, the Iowa Republican who sponsored the bill, were among at least 10 senators scheduled to meet Thursday to discuss the abortion-related amendment and other issues.