WASHINGTON — Bankruptcy reform legislation, highly sought by the financial services industry, officially died Tuesday as President Clinton left it unsigned at midnight, the deadline for enactment.

“I firmly believe that Americans would benefit from bankruptcy legislation that would stem abuse of the bankruptcy system by, and encourage responsibility of, debtors and creditors alike,” President Clinton said in a statement. “Unfortunately this bill is not balanced reform.”

The measure — which would have overhauled bankruptcy laws to relieve creditors from shouldering most of filers’ debts — passed the House and Senate this fall with veto-proof majorities. But lawmakers have adjourned for the year and will not have an opportunity to override the veto.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.