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Web posted and Copyright © March 1, 1999, American Bankruptcy Institute.

This month's update lists major legislation introduced to date in the 106th Congress.

Clinton Administration FY 2000 Budget

The President's record $1.77 trillion budget includes a proposal to amend 28 USC 1930(a) to raise the filing fees in chapter 7 and 13 cases from $130 to $155, with the $25 increase to be allocated to the U.S. Trustee program. The program currently receives $30 of the filing fee. The program is heavily dependent on funding through chapter 11 quarterly fees, which have declined as the number of chapter 11s have fallen in recent years. House and Senate Appropriations Committees will evaluate the administration's request in the budget process that begins this spring.

S. 260: "Safeguarding America's Farms Entering the Year 2000 Act"

By Sen. Grassley (R-IA)
Introduced on January 20, 1999 and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The bill would make chapter 12 permanent (it now is set to expire on April 1, 1999) and make other changes, including raising the debt eligibility limit from $1.5 million to $3 million. It also reduces the priority for taxes arising out of the sale or other disposition of a farm asset to that of an unsecured claim not entitled to priority under §507.

S. 255: "Home Health Integrity Preservation Act of 1999"

By Sen. Grassley (R-IA)
Introduced on January 20, 1999 and referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

In a bill to combat waste, fraud and abuse in payments for home health services provided under Medicare, the bill would limit the ability of Medicare providers to avoid penalties and repayment obligations by filing for bankruptcy. Certain civil actions taken by the United States or a state agency arising out of claims against a health provider would not be stayed, nor would certain Medicare debts be dischargeable in bankruptcy, among other changes.

H.R. 272: "Airline Competition and Lower Fares Act"

By Rep. Slaughter (D-NY)
Introduced on January 6, 1999 and referred to the House Transportation Committee. Under this bill, airline landing slots obtained through a government auction would not be deemed an asset for purposes such as bankruptcy, nor could such slots be transferred, sold, leased or traded without the prior approval of the Secretary of Transportation.

H.R. 333: Means-testing of Chapter 7

By Rep. Andrews (D-NJ)
Introduced on January 6, 1999 and referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

The bill would limit the availability of chapter 7 relief to consumer debtors who (a) have current monthly income exceeding 75 percent of the state median family income for a family of equal size; (b) projected monthly net income of at least $50 and (c) projected monthly net income sufficient to repay 20 percent or more of unsecured non-priority claims over a five-year plan. Rep. Andrews introduced the legislation in the last Congress as well. The bill would likely apply to more debtors than H.R. 3150 from the 105th Congress, as the latter would apply the means test only to those making at least 100 percent of the national median income.

H.R. 436: "Government Waste, Fraud and Error Reduction Act"

By Rep. Horn (R-CA)
Introduced on February 2, 1999 and referred to the House Reform Committee.

Among its other provisions dealing with federal debt collection procedures, the bill prohibits the discharge of any governmental non-tax debt or the termination of collection action on such debt, unless the debt has first been referred to a private debt collector. The bill also requires federal agencies to report annually on the status of high-value non-tax debts.

H.R. 448: "Patient Protection Act of 1999"

By Rep. Bilirakis (R-FL)
Introduced on February 2, 1999 and referred to the House Committees on Commerce, Ways & Means, Education and Judiciary.

This omnibus HMO health care bill provides for trusteeship by the Secretary of HHS in the case of insolvent health care plans, with broad powers such as those found under 11 USC 704, when the district court, upon application by the Secretary, finds the appointment necessary to protect the interests of the participants and beneficiaries.

H.R. 624: "Single-asset Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1999"

By Rep. Knollenberg (R-MI)
Introduced on February 8, 1999 and referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

This bill would remove the current $4 million cap on the special treatment of single-asset real estate cases, to apply to all SARE cases. Identical to H.R. 73 in the 105th Congress.

H.R. 706: Chapter 12 Extension Bill

By Rep. Smith (R-MI)
Introduced on February 11, 1999 and referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

This bill would extend the life of chapter 12 from April 1, 1999 to October 1, 1999.

H.R. 763: "Safeguarding America's Farms Entering the Year 2000 Act"

By Rep. Minge (D-MN)
Introduced on February 12, 1999 and referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

This is identical to S. 260 (see above description).



 

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