How Will the Newly Elected Senate Affect Bankruptcy Laws?
Next month will see a record number of women enter the U.S. Senate – 20 in total – and there is sure to be important financial policy change coming out of this Democratically held legislative body. One woman who is creating some early buzz is Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic Senator-elect of Massachusetts. Her experience as a bankruptcy law expert makes her a strong advocate for consumer protection, and we should keep an eye on her plans for the Senate when the next session begins in 2013.
Warren’s resume is extensive, with much of it focused on helping Americans who are facing growing debt, rising costs of living, and a stagnant economy. She chaired the Congressional Oversight Panel that monitored the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) – the panel kept an eye on how the Treasury Department handed out the $700 billion bank bailout passed in 2008 during the Bush Administration. Her work also led to the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which she served on as Secretary of the Treasury. This agency regulates consumer protection when it comes to the actions of financial sectors like foreclosure relief and debt collection services. It is also important because it looks into problems Americans may have when dealing with student loans and mortgages. And since the CFPB handled over 2,900 consumer complaints from March to September in 2012, this organization seems like a worthy ally for Americans with loans.
Needless to say, Wall Street and big businesses are not huge fans of Warren and her agenda. But with her new post, what kinds of financial change and regulation will she likely fight for? It is assumed she will work to protect the CFPB, and during her Senate campaign she supported raising taxes for wealthy Americans and equal pay for men and women in the workforce. These will likely be causes she continues to support while in the Senate.
And when it comes to bankruptcy legislation, Warren’s consumer advocate views are well established and likely to continue. She will probably work to help those who face bankruptcy because they cannot afford to pay medical bills; she has previously published reports that half of Americans who file for bankruptcy do so because they fell behind on medical bill payments. Her report found that over 2 million Americans experienced medical bankruptcy in 2001, and that “medical debtors were 42 percent more likely than other debtors to experience lapses in coverage.” Warren also spoke out against the “Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005.” This act made it more difficult (though not impossible) for Americans to discharge student loan debt. So any potential legislation that affects people who are filing for bankruptcy is likely to stand out on Warren’s radar.
This year, it will be important to keep track of how the new Senate and House of representatives’ decisions will affect your financial well-being, especially when it comes to dealing with mortgages, student loans, and filing for Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 bankruptcy. If you are in debt and have questions about filing for bankruptcy in Queens or bankruptcy alternatives, Call the Law Offices of Bruce Feinstein, Esq. today for a Free Consultation!
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