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2018
04-15

参议院确定破产法案


法案的支持者,由银行和信用卡行业领导,说改革是需要遏制滥用允许消费者保护他们的债权人的法律。

反对者反驳说,改革将歪曲破产听证会以支持信用卡公司和银行,并且阻碍诚实消费者获得他们需要的呼吸空间。

参议院投票是83-15。四十七名共和党人和三十六名民主党人支持该法案,两名共和党人和十三名民主党人投了反对票。伊利诺斯州共和党议员彼得·菲茨杰拉德(Peter Fitzgerald)投票表决,加州的民主党人芭芭拉·义和团(Barbara Boxer)没有投票。

它在本月初以306-108票通过了众议院 - 共有212名共和党人,93名民主党人和1名独立人士支持。没有共和党人投票反对这个法案,但有107个民主党人反对。

该法案并不是新鲜事物:它在1998年和1999年在众议院和参议院之间的会议中停滞不前,克林顿总统在2000年口袋否决了一项改革法案。

支持者希望这个由共和党控制的国会和白人美国银行家协会(American Bankers Association)发言人凯瑟琳•皮利(Catherine Pulley)表示,这项措施今年最终会成为法律。预计布什总统将签署。

第七章破产是针对没有高收入的人。它允许一个人通过出售资产来偿还尽可能多的债务。其他债务 - 比如信用卡余额 - 往往被原谅。另一方面,第十三章的破产是针对那些收入较高的人,要求他们清偿所有的债务,包括他们欠信用卡公司的债务。

银行业说,有太多能够负担所有债务的人正在申请第7章,这可以让他们保持更多的收入,在某些情况下还可以保留资产。

“我们相信有一些人滥用破产制度,”说Pulley。 “有能力偿还部分债务的富裕申报人不应该离开他们。”

问题的一个症状是“在一些州,富裕的债务人已经使用他们的国家法律来保护债权人的百万美元豪宅”,参议员帕特里克·莱希在最近的证词中表示。

为防止破产滥用,该法案改变了破产法庭程序,使第7章案件更容易被驳回。

它允许债权人要求一个消费者的破产申请被抛出,降低案件从“实质性的滥用”,而不是“滥用”的门槛,并停止法庭给予消费者的怀疑的利益的做法。

改革法案还规定了一种手段测试,以确定消费者是否确实需要第7章保护,或者能够偿还所有的债务。

“这将创造一个以需求为基础的破产制度”,说Pulley。

她补充说:“如果你有能力偿还你的一些债务,如果你不这样做,那就简单了,”她指出,在过去的10年中,破产人数增加了94.7百分。

但是反对者说破产的数量在过去两年已经下降了,并声称随着经济放缓而改变破产法可能会挤压消费者。 “

”由于经济下滑而裁员和收入下降,预计未来一年的破产申请增加,现在被用来证明撤销破产安全网的理由,“参议员Paul Wellstone,D - 在一份声明中。 换句话说,现在越来越多的在职美国人因为无法控制的情况而被迫申请破产,我们应该让他们更难这样做。

1980
331264 1981 363943
1982
380251 1983 348880
1984
348521 1985 412510
1986
530438 1987 577999
1988年 613,465
1989 679,461
1990 782,960
1991 943,987
1992 971,517
1993 875,202
1994 832,829
1995 926,601
1996 1,178,555
1997 1,404,145
1998 1,442,549
1999 1,319,465

(American Bankruptcy Inst.)

Critics also claim that charges of bankruptcy abuse are exaggerated. There is disagreement as to how many people who file to discharge their debts under Chapter 7 could actually pay them off under Chapter 13. A Visa-sponsored study has suggested 11 percent, while a study commissioned by the American Bankruptcy Institute estimated that it was as low as 3.6 percent.

The reform bill requires people filing for bankruptcy to have taken a credit counseling course in the six months prior to the day they file. Critics say that by the time people file for bankruptcy, their credit situation is beyond the point where counseling can help — and delaying a bankruptcy claim to seek counseling could only make things worse.

Current law allows people who file for bankruptcy an "automatic stay" that holds creditors off until the court decides the case. But the reform bill could allow tenants to be evicted during bankruptcy proceedings.

And while current law in some cases allows a person to get debts discharged every six years, the new bill raises that to eight under certain circumstances.

The bill's Senate sponsor defended the proposal as a way of protecting honest consumers.

"Every bankruptcy filed puts upward pressure on interest rates, so decreasing the number is good for people trying to buy a new house or pay for a car," Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a statement. "Reforming the bankruptcy system will help usher in a new era of greater personal responsibility."

But opponents say the measures will hurt people filing in good faith, who may eventually prevail in court, but at a higher cost in legal fees.

"What this means in reality, if you talk to bankruptcy attorneys — it's going to be more expensive," said Travis Plunkett, legislative director at the Consumer Federation of America.

As debate on the bill continued Thursday, the Senate passed several amendments. One limited the amount of real etate that could be exempted from debt collection at $125,000. Another will protect the identities of minor children in bankruptcy proceedings.

By JARRETT MURPHY
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