What: All Issues : Justice for All: Civil and Criminal : Equal Access to Justice : S. 256. Bankruptcy/Vote on Passage of a Bill to Alter Federal Bankruptcy Laws. (2005 house Roll Call 108)
 Who: All Members

To find out how your Members of Congress voted on this bill, use the form on the right.

S. 256. Bankruptcy/Vote on Passage of a Bill to Alter Federal Bankruptcy Laws.
house Roll Call 108     Apr 14, 2005
Progressive Position:
Progressive Result:
Qualifies as polarizing?
Is this vote crucial?

In this vote, the House overwhelmingly passed S. 256, a bill to alter federal bankruptcy laws. The bill would introduce into the bankruptcy system a "means test" based on the median incomes of individual states. This means that individuals who are determined to have sufficient means–assets–would be ordered to repay all debts, while those deemed to have insufficient means would have their debts erased after certain assets are seized. The bill also specified that certain debts, like alimony and some luxury purchases, would have to be repaid, and that the amount of equity in some personal homes that could be protected would be limited to $125,000. Other provisions would seek to limit repeat bankruptcy-filers, better inform consumers about the bankruptcy process and about the consequences of credit-card use and repayment, and make special requirements for small businesses filing for bankruptcy. Progressives criticized the legislation, objecting both to its substance and to the procedure which forbade them from offering substantive amendments to try to improve the legislation on the House floor. Offering the Progressive argument, John Conyers (D-MI) noted that S. 256 was "the most special interest-vested bill that I have ever dealt with in my career in Congress. It massively tilts the playing field in favor of banks and credit card companies and against working people and their families." Republicans countered that the changes contained in the bill would help curb abuse of the bankruptcy system, and that adequate consumer protection provisions were included in the bill. "S. 256 restores personal responsibility and integrity to the bankruptcy system and ensures that the system is fair to both debtors and creditors." (James Sensenbrenner (R-WI).) The House defeated the Progressive position and passed the bankruptcy bill by a vote of 302 to 126. Thus, legislation making sweeping changes to the U.S. bankruptcy system–including making it significantly more difficult for individuals to get out of debt by declaring bankruptcy–was passed and sent to the President for his signature.

Issue Areas:

Find your Member of
Congress' votes

Select by Name