What: All Issues : Government Checks on Corporate Power : Banks/Credit Card Companies : S. 1920. Bankruptcy Extension and Overhaul/Vote to Make Permanent Chapter 12 Bankruptcy Protections for the Nation's Family Farmers.
 Who: All Members
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S. 1920. Bankruptcy Extension and Overhaul/Vote to Make Permanent Chapter 12 Bankruptcy Protections for the Nation's Family Farmers.
house Roll Call 8     Jan 28, 2004
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

Legislation aimed at overhauling the nation's bankruptcy rules have been a fixture on the congressional agenda since 1997. To date, however, agreement between the House and Senate has failed to materialize in large part because the Senate version of the bankruptcy reform bill contained a controversial abortion-related provision which would have prevented anti-abortion activists from declaring bankruptcy to avoid paying fines and court judgments related to property damage or violence to abortion clinics, patients, and/or doctors who practice the medical procedure. The subject of this vote was a Democratic version of bankruptcy legislation which would make permanent Chapter 12 bankruptcy protections and expand eligibility requirements for family farmers. Chapter 12 bankruptcy protections were created in 1986 in order to allow family farmers to repay their debts based on arrangements made in bankruptcy court. In contrast to other chapters in the bankruptcy code, namely Chapter 11, bankruptcies filed under Chapter 12 do not necessarily require a family farmer to liquidate all assets and immediately sell the farm to cover debt payments. However, Chapter 12 bankruptcy protections require a congressional reauthorization every two years and, on December 31, 2003, the Chapter 12 provisions expired. Progressives supported the Democratic version of the bankruptcy bill and argued that Chapter 12 bankruptcy protections should be made permanent. In the view of Progressives, Chapter 12 protections strike an appropriate balance between the needs of debtors and creditors; family farmers usually retain their farms after poor farming seasons and creditors are guaranteed repayment of debts. Conservatives voted against the Democratic bankruptcy bill and argued that the Republican version of the legislation already contained provisions to make permanent Chapter 12 protections to family farmers. Conservatives also contended that family farmers would not be hurt by the expiration of Chapter 12 protections because the Republican bill makes those protections retroactive to December 31, 2003. On a vote of 153-204, the Democratic version of bankruptcy legislation was defeated and the Republican version of the bill was allowed to proceed in the legislative process.

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