James J. White


The 2005 amendments to the Bankruptcy Code (BAPCPA or Act) that became effective in October of 2005 had an unusually long and difficult gestation. The legislation was conceived and even passed by Congress once during the Clinton administration. After President Clinton's pocket veto, the Act did not again reach a President's desk until President George W. Bush signed the Act into law on April 20, 2005, during the first year of his second term. The Act was conceived by institutional unsecured consumer creditors as the antidote to the rapidly rising number of consumer bankruptcies that followed the enactment of the new Code in 1978. In the first year of the Code of 1978 there were about 250,000 bankruptcies; by 2004 that number was more than 1.5 million. The principal advocates of BAPCPA were the issuers of credit cards. Other consumer lenders, such as the credit unions, joined the card issuers, but consumer creditors who lent only against valuable security such as cars and homes were unenthusiastic.

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