What: All Issues : Labor Rights : Rights of Individuals in the Workplace : S. 256. Bankruptcy/Vote on Amendment to Hold Corporations Declaring Bankruptcy Accountable to Their Employees with Regard to Workers' Earnings and Retirement Funds.
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S. 256. Bankruptcy/Vote on Amendment to Hold Corporations Declaring Bankruptcy Accountable to Their Employees with Regard to Workers' Earnings and Retirement Funds.
senate Roll Call 25     Mar 03, 2005
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

In this vote, the Senate defeated an amendment offered by Richard Durbin (D-IL) to S. 256, a Republican-sponsored bill to alter federal bankruptcy rules, that would have added to the bill provisions designed to protect the financial interests of employees of corporations declaring bankruptcy. Durbin's amendment would have added two provisions to the bankruptcy bill. First, it would have required judges in corporate bankruptcy proceedings to scrutinize payouts-including loans, bonuses and other transactions-made to corporate executives as the company was headed to bankruptcy and provided a formula for determining if those payouts were excessive. Second, the amendment would have given employees, who often in this setting have few rights against the corporations for whom they work, a place "in line" as creditors in bankruptcy proceedings, thereby giving them a chance to reclaim some portion of their earnings or their retirement funds. Durbin argued on behalf of Progressives that employees who have devoted themselves and worked hard for a company ought not to find themselves deprived of what is owed them due to executive greed and mismanagement. Durbin'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 and wealthy people at the expense of middle and lower-class Americans. 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 40-54 was one of numerous losses in their attempts to make the bill less favorable to companies and more favorable to workers, debtors and consumers.

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