What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Consumer Protection : S. 256. Bankruptcy/Vote on Amendment to Prohibit Predatory Lenders from Collecting from Persons Declaring Bankruptcy (2005 senate Roll Call 22)
 Who: All Members
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S. 256. Bankruptcy/Vote on Amendment to Prohibit Predatory Lenders from Collecting from Persons Declaring Bankruptcy
senate Roll Call 22     Mar 03, 2005
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

In this vote, the Senate defeated an amendment by Richard Durbin (D-IL) to S. 256, a Republican-sponsored bill to alter federal bankruptcy rules, to prohibit predatory lenders from collecting debts "owed" to them from debtors declaring bankruptcy. Predatory lenders prey on the elderly, the uneducated, etc. by offering to do work on a house, for example, but bury in the contract for the work provisions that are designed to extract huge sums of money from the unsuspecting victim. In some cases, victims can lose their homes and/or life savings, and still "owe" money to the creditor. On behalf of Progressives and other Democrats, Durbin argued, "If we are going to hold people coming into bankruptcy court who file for bankruptcy to the high moral standard of paying back their debts, should we not hold the creditors walking into bankruptcy court to a similar high moral standard that they must have followed the law, that they must have engaged in this highly regulated, moral conduct? The amendment I am offering prohibits a high-cost mortgage lender from collecting on its claim in bankruptcy court if the lender extends credit in violation of existing law. . . . I am just saying when you issued this mortgage, you violated the law. You took advantage of a person by violating the law. You cannot then go in court and say protect me with the law. You can't have it both ways." Republicans did not offer a specific argument on the floor of the Senate against this amendment, but they were anxious to keep the bill "clean," meaning free from most amendments, because the House had already indicated it would not accept a bankruptcy bill laden with amendment language. Progressives' loss on this amendment by a vote of 40 to 58 was one of numerous losses in their attempts to tilt the balance of S. 256 more toward consumers and away from credit card companies and other creditors.

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