What: All Issues : Government Checks on Corporate Power : Banks/Credit Card Companies : S. 256. Bankruptcy/Vote on Amendment to Remove Provisions Concerning Small Businesses from Republican-Sponsored Bill to Alter Federal Bankruptcy Rules.
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S. 256. Bankruptcy/Vote on Amendment to Remove Provisions Concerning Small Businesses from Republican-Sponsored Bill to Alter Federal Bankruptcy Rules.
senate Roll Call 30     Mar 08, 2005
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

In this vote, the Senate defeated an amendment to S. 256 that would have removed from the bill provisions relating to small businesses that declare bankruptcy. S. 256 was a Republican-sponsored bill to alter federal bankruptcy rules, The amendment was offered by Russell Feingold (D-WI). Making the Progressive argument, Feingold expressed dismay that S. 256 contained requirements making it tougher for small businesses to reorganize and be relieved of debt, especially as those requirements would not apply to large corporations. Feingold asserted that these requirements were unduly burdensome, such as a requirement to file ongoing, substantial profitability reports "that no one will ever use." He noted: "I do not want to have to go back to Wisconsin and have to explain to a grocery store owner who is already working late into the night, trying to pull her business through a financial crisis, that the Federal Government has decided to keep her even longer to put together a report that nobody even plans to read. I am very concerned, almost ashamed of this Chamber to think I would have to tell her that if she were a big corporation, if she were the big chain of huge grocery stores, then the law would not require this of her. It would not treat her this way." He also quoted Prof. Elizabeth Warren, who said when a similar provision had been considered a few years before, "[a] decision by Congress in 2001 that small businesses should bear greater costs, face shorter deadlines, file more papers and lose any flexibility that a supervising judge might provide is a decision to shut down small businesses simply because they are small." Republicans did not offer any specific arguments against this amendment on the floor, but in general, 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. The Senate defeated this amendment by a vote of 41 to 59. Thus, substantial paperwork and other requirements for small businesses declaring bankruptcy were left in the bill, despite the fact that the bill language left larger corporations free from similar requirements.

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