The Progressive Magazine March 12, 2005 Democratic Senators Cave on Bankruptcy Bill by Matthew Rothschild On March 11, the U.S. Senate passed the bankruptcy bill that will fill the coffers of the credit card companies while bleeding consumers dry. The bill passed by a whopping 74 to 25 margin, with eighteen Democratic Senators going over to the dark side. The bill is a fantasy come true for credit card companies, which have been pushing it for years. But it's not as though they're suffering. They made $30 billion in profits last year. The bill severely limits the ability of consumers to wipe away some of their debts and get a fresh start. Half the people who file for bankruptcy do so because of sky-high medical bills, and another 40 percent due so because of disability, job loss, family death, or divorce, according to the National Consumer Law Center. If you make more than the median income in your state, no matter how high your bills are, you can't wipe the debts clean. And even if your debts are the consequence of identity theft, of someone stealing your credit card and running up charges, you still are on the hook for them, as the Senate amazingly voted down an amendment to shelter victims of identity theft. Middle class debtors are the ones who are going to suffer the most under this bill. The poor will still be able to get Chapter 7 protection, which releases them from most of their debts. And the indebted rich can still shelter their property if they get a good lawyer to draw up an asset protection trust in states where that's allowed. And many affluent debtors could still declare bankruptcy and still keep their mansions. On top of that, corporations like Enron could still file bankruptcy to avoid paying their employees. But if you're struggling to keep your head above water, this bill has one piece of advice for you: drown. And eighteen Democratic Senators refused to throw you a rope. http://www.progressive.org/webex05/wx031205.php Here's the list of 18 Democratic Senators who joined the Republican Senators in sticking it to middle class workers. Max Baucus, Montana. Evan Bayh, Indiana. Joe Biden, Delaware. Jeff Bingaman, New Mexico. Robert Byrd, West Virginia. Thomas Carper, Delaware. Kent Conrad, North Dakota. Daniel Inouye, Hawaii. Tim Johnson, South Dakota. Herb Kohl, Wisconsin. Mary Landrieu, Louisiana. Blanche Lincoln, Arkansas Bill Nelson, Florida. Ben Nelson, Nebraska. Mark Pryor, Arkansas. Harry Reid, Nevada, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Ken Salazar, Colorado. Debbie Stabenow, Michigan.