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Senate passes bankruptcy bill

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – The Senate passed legislation Thursday that will make it harder for Americans to rid themselves of debt by filing for bankruptcy.

The House is expected to pass the measure next month.

The vote was 74-25 to approve the most thorough overhaul of bankruptcy laws in a quarter-century.

“The short answer is fairness,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. “Those who can pay their bills should pay their bills. That’s the American way.”

Congressional and industry backers of the legislation have been pushing for it for eight years but it repeatedly got stalled. This year, with Republican majorities increased in both the House and Senate in last November’s elections, the bill’s fortunes reversed.

Before the vote and in Senate deliberations over much of the last 10 days, majority Republicans knocked down Democratic attempts to ease the impact of the legislation on people facing huge debts they cannot pay down, including single parents, the unemployed and the ill.

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