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Time may be bankruptcy reform's biggest enemy.
Last month the Senate adjourned for the year before completing work on legislation that would make it harder for many bankruptcy filers to avoid repaying some of their debts. The bill is the first item on the Senate's agenda when it returns next month.
Opponents will be armed with new evidence that the bankruptcy boom of the late 1990s is over: The number of personal bankruptcy filings dropped 6.2 percent in the third quarter, and business bankruptcies fell 13.4 percent. For the first nine months of 1999, total bankruptcy filings numbered 980,732, a 7.8 percent decline from the same period a year earlier.
This drop occurred without any help from …