Summary: H.R.2500 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.2500. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (09/18/1997)


Title I: Consumer Bankruptcy Issues

Title II: Improved Bankruptcy Administration

Responsible Borrower Protection Bankruptcy Act - Title I: Consumer Bankruptcy Issues - Amends Federal bankruptcy law to prescribe guidelines for a needs-based bankruptcy system which precludes individuals from filing for complete relief in bankruptcy (under chapter 7 (Liquidation)) if certain current monthly income is available to pay creditors.

(Sec. 101) Sets forth formulae for income levels determinative of debtor eligibility for bankruptcy relief. Treats as having income available to pay creditors (and thus eligible for chapter 13 Adjustment of Debts of an Individual with Regular Income) any individual (or in a joint case, an individual and spouse combined) with: (1) a current monthly total income of 75 percent of the national median household income for one earner (or 75 percent of the national median family income for a family of equal size); (2) projected monthly net income greater than $50; and (3) projected monthly net income sufficient to repay 20 percent or more of unsecured non-priority claims during a five-year repayment plan.

(Sec. 102) Provides for adjustment to a chapter 13 debtor's monthly net income for extraordinary circumstances such as loss of income or unusual expenses.

(Sec. 103) Modifies notice requirements to apprise a consumer debtor of alternatives to bankruptcy, including independent non-profit debt counseling services.

(Sec. 104) Declares embezzlement or fraudulently-incurred debts of individuals nondischargeable in bankruptcy.

(Sec. 105) Instructs the bankruptcy court to confirm the bankruptcy plan of an individual if it provides that the holder of a secured allowed claim retains the lien securing such claim until discharge of all debts.

(Sec. 106) Grants a claim arising from a nondischargeable debt incurred to pay a Federal tax (or any other nondischargeable debt) the same priority as the claim for the underlying obligation which was paid for by such nondischargeable debt.

(Sec. 107) Establishes a presumption that consumer debts owed to a single creditor and incurred within 90 days prior to an order for relief in bankruptcy are nondischargeable in bankruptcy.

(Sec. 108) Revamps prescriptions governing the effects of conversion from chapter 13 to another chapter. Declares that: (1) valuations of property and of allowed secured claims in a chapter 13 case shall not apply in a chapter 7 case; and (2) with respect to cases converted from chapter 13, the claim of any creditor holding security as of the date of the petition shall continue to be secured by that security unless the full amount of that claim determined under applicable non-bankruptcy law has been paid in full as of the date of conversion.

(Sec. 109) Terminates the automatic stay 30 days after filing of a petition if a petition was pending and dismissed under chapter 7 the previous year, unless the subsequent filing is in good faith. Delineates conditions under which a history of previous petitions in bankruptcy give rise to a rebuttable presumption that the case is not filed in good faith.

(Sec. 110) Requires that the value of personal property collateral be at least equal to the outstanding balance of the purchase price, including interest and charges, where the property was acquired by the debtor within 180 days of filing the petition in bankruptcy.

(Sec. 111) Declares that, in the case of chapter 7 and chapter 13 debtors, the personal property securing the individual debtor's personal property shall be the replacement value as of the date the petition is filed without deduction for costs of sale or marketing.

(Sec. 112) Modifies debtor's duties to mandate specified affirmative actions to be taken by a chapter 7 debtor, including reaffirmation of the debt or redemption of the property within 60 days, in order to retain possession of personal property.

(Sec. 113) Establishes the Bankruptcy Exemption Study Commission to study and report to the Congress on issues and problems in the bankruptcy system, including whether exemptions should be uniform nationally, and the appropriate size of exemptions in individual cases. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 114) Mandates that a chapter 13 debtor file a bankruptcy plan within a specified deadline.

(Sec. 115) Changes from discretionary to mandatory the court's authority to dismiss an individual debtor case if relief would be a substantial abuse of chapter 7. Requires the court to find that substantial abuse exists if: (1) the debtor is ineligible for chapter 7 relief under the needs-based test; or (2) the totality of the circumstances of the debtor's financial situation demonstrate substantial abuse.

(Sec. 116) Provides for a chapter 7 debtor's assumption of executory contracts and unexpired leases. Declares that in a chapter 11 case in which the debtor is an individual, and in a chapter 13 case, if the lease is not assumed in the plan, it is rejected (and no longer subject to an automatic stay) as of the plan's confirmation date.

(Sec. 117) Mandates a maximum five-year payment period under a chapter 13 plan for any individual debtor (or in a joint case, an individual and spouse combined) with a current monthly total income of 75 percent of the national median household income for one earner (or 75 percent of the national median family income for a family of equal size). Permits the court to approve a longer period, not to exceed seven years.

(Sec. 118) Revises prescriptions governing a stay of action against a codebtor to provide that: (1) the co-debtor stay would continue to be available when the debtor who borrowed the money sought Chapter 13 relief; but (2) if a guarantor or other co-debtor who did not receive the consideration for the creditor's claim filed for relief, the debtor who borrowed the money would not be protected by a stay unless he or she also filed a bankruptcy petition. Declares that the stay shall terminate as to the debtor's interest in personal property if the debtor surrendered or abandoned that property.

(Sec. 120) Includes within the definition of a debtor's "principal residence" an individual condominium or cooperative unit, or mobile, or manufactured home or trailer. Provides that the inclusion of incidental property in a mortgage on the debtor's principal residence will not disqualify that mortgage from protection under chapter 13. Provides that if the debtor resides in a house the debtor owns during the 180 days before filing, such protection applies. States that the automatic stay will not be violated if a prepetition foreclosure proceeding is postponed during the pendency of a Chapter 13 proceeding, so long as any prepetition default remains uncured by actual payment in full according to the plan.

(Sec. 121) Extends the mandatory period between discharges in bankruptcy from six to ten years for chapter 7 debtors. Sets five years as the mandatory period between discharges for chapter 13 debt repayment plans.

Title II: Improved Bankruptcy Administration - Modifies the organization of bankruptcy courts to mandate the compilation of bankruptcy statistics for individual debtors with primarily consumer debts seeking relief under chapters 7, 11 (Reorganization), and 13. Directs the Administrative Office of the United States Courts (Administrative Office) to make such statistics public and to report them annually to the Congress.

(Sec. 202) Requires each U.S. trustee to report to the Attorney General on audit results of bankruptcy petitions and schedules performed by independent certified or licensed public accountants. Requires the Attorney General to establish random audits of individual bankruptcy cases under chapter 11.

(Sec. 203) Directs the Administrative Office to establish and maintain a nationwide debtors' docket accessible to searches by any users.

(Sec. 204) Revises guidelines governing meetings of creditors and equity security holders to provide that if the debtor is an individual in a voluntary case under chapters 7, 11, or 13, the first meeting of creditors shall not convene earlier than 60 days after the date of the order for relief in bankruptcy, unless the court determines that unusual circumstances justify an earlier meeting. Authorizes a creditor holding a consumer debt to participate in a meeting of creditors in a chapter 7 or 13 case, either alone or in conjunction with an attorney. Prescribes notice procedures for chapter 7 and chapter 13 creditors.

(Sec. 207) Revises automatic stay guidelines to provide that in the case of an individual filing under chapters 7, 11, or 13, the automatic stay shall terminate 60 days after a request for its release by a party in interest, unless the court orders or the parties agree to a longer time. Terminates such stay if the debtor fails to complete an intended surrender of consumer debt collateral.

(Sec. 210) Expands debtor's duties to require filing with the bankruptcy court: (1) Federal tax returns; (2) evidence of payments received; (3) monthly net income projections; and (4) anticipated debt or expenditure increases. Permits a chapter 7 or chapter 13 creditor to request the debtor's petition, schedules and statement of affairs, including the debt adjustment plan filed by the debtor. Mandates debtor compliance within ten days of such request.

Mandates that, at the time of filing with the taxing authority, a chapter 7 or 13 debtor file with the bankruptcy court specified tax documentation pertaining to the period from the commencement of the case until case termination.

Requires a chapter 13 debtor to file with the court a statement of income and expenditures in the preceding tax year, and monthly net income, showing how calculated.

(Sec. 211) Provides for automatic dismissal if a chapter 7 debtor fails to furnish all mandatory information, or fails to timely file the requisite schedules. Requires the court to order dismissal within five days of a request by a party in interest for the debtor's failure to timely submit requisite documentation.

(Sec. 212) Delineates a cash payment plan for chapter 13 debtors for payments to any lessor of personal property and to any creditor holding a claim secured by personal property to the extent such claim is attributable to the debtor's purchase of such property.

(Sec. 213) Prohibits a Chapter 13 confirmation hearing from being held less than 20 days after the first meeting of creditors if there is an objection.