[JURIST] A controversial bankruptcy bill first introduced in 1997 goes up for consideration again Monday in the US Senate [official website]. The bill aims to limit the ability of consumers to declare bankruptcy and have their debts nullified. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley [official website], author of the legislation, asserts that instead of being used as a last resort, bankruptcy is being used as a convenient method for escaping debt. The credit card industry supports the bill, while several consumer advocacy groups argue that misuse of bankruptcy laws is over-stated and the bill will hinder consumers genuinely in need of declaring bankruptcy. The four seats picked up by Republicans in the November elections give a 55-vote majority to bill supporters. Democratic Senator Charles Schumer [official website] has successfully blocked the bill twice by adding on an amendment prohibiting individuals from filing for bankruptcy protection to avoid paying fines for illegal protests at abortion clinics. This year, support for Schumer's amendment has faltered, and Republicans are convinced they can block the amendment's introduction. Watch a webcast of the Senate proceedings at 2 PM ET. Read the text of the proposed bill [PDF]. The Financial Times has more.