CONSUMER FEDERATION OF AMERICA
U.S. PUBLIC INTEREST RESEARCH GROUP
January 28, 2004
In a slap in the face to America’s family farmers, the House leadership has chosen to eviscerate universally supported Senate legislation that would extend the Chapter 12 farmer’s bankruptcy program for six months (S. 1920), and instead substitute a highly controversial consumer bankruptcy bill (H.R. 975) that passed the House but is unlikely to clear the Senate. This maneuver not only prevents farmers in need from taking advantage of the important bankruptcy protections in Chapter 12, but is a blatant attempt to do an end-run around Senate opposition to H.R. 975. The undersigned national consumer organizations strongly urge you to oppose this harmful bill.
Now is a particularly bad time to pass one-sided bankruptcy legislation. Many Americans are coping with the after-effects of a tough economic recession and are financially vulnerable. H.R. 975 would harm moderate-income families that have been hit by a financial emergency and benefit the credit card industry, whose aggressive lending practices contribute to bankruptcy.
That is why an extremely broad array of 34 organizations and coalitions have opposed H.R. 975. These labor, civil rights, women’s, consumer, community and religious groups represent tens of millions of economically vulnerable Americans who would be hurt by the harsh and unbalanced bankruptcy restrictions in the bill.
Moreover, at a time when so many Americans are still concerned about corporate abuses, this bill would actually weaken corporate accountability and would benefit companies that admitted to wrongdoing. The bill would also weaken conflict-of-interest restrictions on Wall Street firms, some of which were significant players in the corporate scandals.
We urge you to reject this attempt to manipulate the legislative process to the detriment of family farmers and consumers.
Consumer Federation of America
U.S. Public Interest Research Group