What: All Issues : Government Checks on Corporate Power : Banks/Credit Card Companies : S. 256. Bankruptcy/Vote Defeating Amendment to Exempt from Means Test in Bankruptcy Bill Debtors Whose Economic Distress was Caused by their Role as Caregivers to Ill or Disabled Family Members.
 Who: All Members
[POW!]
 

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

S. 256. Bankruptcy/Vote Defeating Amendment to Exempt from Means Test in Bankruptcy Bill Debtors Whose Economic Distress was Caused by their Role as Caregivers to Ill or Disabled Family Members.
senate Roll Call 18     Mar 02, 2005
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

In this vote, the Senate defeated an amendment by Jon Corzine (D-NJ) to exempt from a key provision of S. 256, the Republican-drafted bill to alter federal bankruptcy laws, people whose financial distress was caused by their roles as caregivers for ill or disabled family members. S. 256 would create as part of the bankruptcy process a "means test" based on the median incomes of individual states. 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. Corzine's amendment would have exempted from the bill's means test individuals whose poor financial situation was caused by their need to care for an ill or disabled family member, thus making it easier for individuals in such circumstances to seek the relief of bankruptcy than under the Republican-drafted bill language. Corzine argued on behalf of Progressives that "[t]hese individuals provide an enormous service to our society because the costs they take up are not borne by the broader society through Medicaid or other areas. . . . The economic estimate of this value is over $257 billion annually. . . . That unpaid care comes with a real cost." Thus, he reasoned, they ought to be provided with some relief if they are forced to declare bankruptcy. Republicans countered that Corzine's amendment was unnecessary because the concerns it addressed were already covered in the bill itself. They argued that "people who are economically distressed and have incomes below the median income already will be exempt from the means test[,]" and that "expenses people incur for the care and support of an elderly, chronically ill or disabled member of their household or family is [sic] subtracted from their income." (Jeff Sessions (R-AL).) Corzine's amendment was one of a series offered by Progressives to limit the bill's scope because overall, they viewed S. 256 as benefiting large corporations, such as credit card companies, at the expense of middle and lower-class Americans. They maintained that S. 256 would actually require individuals who deserve full protection in bankruptcy to overcome additional barriers to getting out of debt, like higher attorneys' fees and more paperwork. Republicans countered that the bill would curb abuses of the bankruptcy system by making it harder for those who could pay their debts to escape them. In addition, Republicans 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 in this amendment by a vote of 37 to 60 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.

Issue Areas:

Find your Member of
Congress' votes

Select by Name