WASHINGTON -- April 21 -- Green Party leaders strongly criticized the House's passage of the Bankruptcy Bill on April 15, calling the 302 to 126 vote new evidence that the Democratic Party has sided with Republicans and corporate lobbies against middle- and low-income working Americans.
"72 Democrats handed President Bush, the Republicans, and corporate America a victory last week, proving that Americans have only one party for working people -- the Green Party," said Peggy Lewis, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States.
The bill allows creditors to demand higher payments before and after bankruptcy, drives up bankruptcy filling fees and minimum payments in repayment plans, and also lets millionaires escape their debts by hiding their money in exemptions and trusts. The bill was passed without amendments that would have blocked abuses of bankruptcy laws by corporations like Enron.
Greens noted that nearly 90% of bankruptcies are the result of employment, illness, or inadequate or lack of health insurance.
"The Bankruptcy Bill is a multi-billion-dollar bipartisan gift to credit card companies, big landlords, debt collectors, and other powerful corporations, to be paid by the rest of us," said Jake Schneider, treasurer of the national Green Party. "Years ago, the Democratic Party discarded national health insurance, repeal of Taft-Hartley restrictions on workplace organizing, and opposition to antidemocratic international trade authorities like NAFTA and the WTO from its platform. Now mainstream Democrats have sacrificed financial security for American families."
"Passage of legislation like the Bankruptcy Bill is inevitable when politics is limited to two parties chasing after corporate dollars," added Mr. Schneider, who noted that 36 Democratic Senators, including Hillary Clinton (N.Y.), Charles Schumer (N.Y.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), and Joe Biden (Del.) voted for a similarly destructive bankruptcy bill in March, 2001. "A few Greens in Congress wouldn't only be certain to vote against such bills, they'd also be a competitive influence on the entire Democratic Party, and on some Republicans, too."
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, financial and credit firms gave more than $7.8 million in individual and PAC contributions during the 2004 election cycle to both Republicans (64%) and Democrats (36%).
The Green Party and its candidates refuse contributions from corporations, and have called for laws sharply restricting the power of corporations over public policy, including an end to the status of corporations as 'persons' according to a 19th-century interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.