Old Chapter, New Chapter


President Bush says he's eager to sign a measure making it harder to file for bankruptcy to avoid paying debts.

By a vote of 302 to 126, the House voted for the bill Thursday. It will force people with incomes above their state's median level,to enter into Chapter 13 bankruptcy and pay back their debts.

Before the bill, some of those people could enter into Chapter 7 bankruptcy which completely wipes out some of their debts.

Many experts, like bankruptcy lawyer Jerold Greenker, believe the bill unfairly targets the middle class and helps credit card companies and banks.

"The banks and credit card companies and insurance companies have extremely powerful lobbies in Congress. They've been pushing for this legislation for years and years. And they have finally gotten their will."

"It's not that we're making bankruptcy unavailable to folks. But where you have somebody who's wealthy and still has significant income, maybe they ought to pay some of what they owe," says the American Bankers Association's Wayne Abernathy.

Defenders of the bill say former laws protected gamblers, compulsive shoppers, and people who refused to pay child support.

Last year, more than 1 1/2 million people filed for bankruptcy.

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