The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved a bankruptcy reform bill by a 12-5 vote, clearing the way for the full Senate to consider the measure during the first week of March.Democrats are threatening to filibuster the bill (S. 256) if the Senate does not approve an amendment by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., that blocks abortion clinic protesters (who are fined by the courts) from shielding their assets under the bankruptcy laws. Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., also signaled that he will offer an amendment that would prevent mortgage lenders from pursuing claims in bankruptcy court if they violated the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act, the federal anti-predatory-lending law. Sen. Durbin offered a similar amendment in 2002, and it was defeated in the Senate by only one vote. Senate Republican leaders believes they have the votes to defeat the Schumer amendment and other amendments that would make the bankruptcy bill unacceptable to the House and the Bush administration.

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