BANKRUPTCY ABUSE PREVENTION AND CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT OF 2003 -- (House of Representatives - January 28, 2004)
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Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Chairman I support this bill. It allows consumers to benefit from the changes to the bankruptcy system that were approved by this House last year.
It's time for Congress to enact permanent meaningful bankruptcy reform. Recent surveys show that 70 percent of Americans support reforming our nation's bankruptcy laws. Unless we take action, consumers will continue to be negatively impacted by the current system and fraudulent filings will continue to be rewarded rather than discouraged.
In 1980, 300,000 bankruptcy petitions were filed. This past year, over 1.2 million were reported during just the first nine months. Many of these filings are legitimate attempts by debtors to pay their debts and obtain a fresh start. However, bankruptcy is too often used as a way to avoid responsibilities.
Unnecessary Bankruptcy filings continue to increase at dramatic rates. This is bad for consumers and bad for our economy. The costs of these filings are passed on to America's businesses and consumers, who should not have to absorb these debts. We must ensure that debtors actually belong in bankruptcy and are not using the system to avoid their obligations.
This legislation encourages personal responsibility, protects consumers, and ensures that bankruptcy is used only as a last resort and is not abused by those who can afford to repay their debts.
Bankruptcy reform is good for consumers, family farmers, and our economy. I urge my colleagues to support this bill.