[JURIST] AP is reporting that President Bush has signed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 [PDF text, as reported in House], legislation that will make it harder for those in debt to wipe out their obligations.
3:53 PM ET – A transcript of the President's remarks on signing the bill is now available. President Bush said:
Under the new law, Americans who have the ability to pay will be required to pay back at least a portion of their debts. Those who fall behind their state's median income will not be required to pay back their debts. This practical reform will help ensure that debtors make a good-faith effort to repay as much as they can afford. This new law will help make credit more affordable, because when bankruptcy is less common, credit can be extended to more people at better rates.
The new law will also require credit card companies to let card holders know up front what they are expected to pay, and what the penalties they will face if they are late on a payment. When people get a credit card, they should not be trapped by a provision in the fine print.
To make the system more fair, the new law will also make it more difficult for serial filers to abuse the most generous bankruptcy protections. Debtors seeking to erase all debts will now have to wait eight years from their last bankruptcy before they can file again. The law will also allow us to clamp down on bankruptcy mills that make their money by advising abusers on how to game the system.
America is a nation of personal responsibility where people are expected to meet their obligations. We're also a nation of fairness and compassion where those who need it most are afforded a fresh start. The act of Congress I sign today will protect those who legitimately need help, stop those who try to commit fraud, and bring greater stability and fairness to our financial system.
AP has more.