Friday, February 15, 2008

Clinton and Obama Both Solid on Bankruptcy "Reform"

In today's NYT, I read this:

Mrs. Clinton has been also criticizing Mr. Obama with populist language, saying she would “take on” insurers and credit card companies and “go after” drug companies. She portrayed Mr. Obama as untested on the battlefield against special interests.

This made me wonder what Clinton's position had been on the infamous bankruptcy "reform" legislation that passed the Senate in 2005. My recollection was that she had voted the wrong way on at least one of the many important amendments or crucial procedural votes that led to the bill's passing, mostly intact and without safeguards for vulnerable populations (those bankrupted by medical emergencies, for example).

But in reviewing the votes on Senate bill 256, it looks like Clinton was pretty solid on bankruptcy "reform"; She wasn't present on March 10 when the bill passed 74-25 (Obama voted Nay), but she did vote against cloture on the bill, the cloture vote being a vote to discontinue debate and break the filibuster, and she voted in favor of the various Democratic amendments offered by Dick Durbin, Ted Kennedy, and others that would have mitigated the bill's harshness on certain categories of debtors. Obama voted favorably on all counts.

A review of the bill's voting history also reveals how different things were three years ago. I have a hard time imagining bankruptcy "reform" would have passed at all given the housing crash and mortgage crisis today, never mind the ridiculously high vote margin the bill achieved three years ago.

Update: Barbara Ehrenreich writes that Hillary Clinton voted for bankruptcy "reform" in 2001. I'd have to look it up to know what sort of bill it was, but it must not have been adequate enough to suit MBNA and the other credit card overlords who ordered their Congressional munchskins to come back and do it again four years later.

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