Senator Lautenberg's comments on Bankruptcy Law
Mr. Ronald Cappuccio
Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
Thank you for contacting me about bankruptcy reform. I appreciate hearing from you on this issue.
In recent years, I have voiced support for a comprehensive review of our nation's bankruptcy laws. In my view, it’s imperative that any reform should provide a balanced approach to both sides of the problem: irresponsible debtors and irresponsible creditors. Unfortunately, the Senate recently acted only on the first of those problems, and the Republican majority struck down any attempt to focus on the latter. As you may know, the Senate passed S. 256, the "Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005", on March 10th, 2005. The House of Representatives recently passed this bill, and President Bush has signed it into law.
The Senate had an opportunity to pass a good bankruptcy bill that would curb real abuses of bankruptcy while protecting consumers who fall on hard times because of a medical catastrophe, divorce, or the loss of a job. Instead, the majority rejected dozens of amendments that would have protected the homes of senior citizens and required credit card companies to level with consumers about how much they would really have to pay in interest and penalties. Half of all bankruptcies today are the result of medical debts, yet an amendment to help families faced with a health crisis failed.
Because this bill did far more to protect credit card companies than honest Americans faced with a crisis, I voted against it. I know how important this matter is to both consumers and businesses in New Jersey. Please be assured that I will continue to keep your views in mind on this and other issues in the future.
Thank you again for contacting me.