President Bush has signed the bankruptcy bill, which will make it harder for consumers with median incomes to use the bankruptcy courts to avoid repaying at least a portion of their debts.The president said the bill (S. 256) will stop abuses of the bankruptcy system that have allowed too many people to walk away from their debts. "By making the system fairer for creditors and debtors, we will ensure that more Americans can get affordable credit," the president said at a bill-signing ceremony. The signing of the bill culminates an eight-year effort to reform the bankruptcy code, according to the American Financial Services Association. "The new law will bring sweeping changes to an overburdened, antiquated system while encouraging accountability and responsibility," AFSA president and chief executive Randy Lively said. Personal bankruptcy filings totaled nearly 1.6 million in 2004.

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