McConnell, pushing bailout, slammed for 2005 bankruptcy bill

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell led the battle Wednesday to pass a $700 billion Wall Street bailout package, in which taxpayers would buy the failing financial sector's toxic assets.

But only three years ago, McConnell, R-Ky., stood in the same chamber and argued that America's free-market economy requires people to clean up their own financial messes rather than pass them along to others.

After he pushed a tougher bankruptcy law through Congress, making it harder for citizens to escape debt, McConnell said the law "ushers in a new emphasis on personal responsibility."

This week, critics of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention Act of 2005 said recent studies suggest that it contributed to the fiscal crisis by encouraging more Americans to walk away from their homes and accept foreclosure rather than try to rebuild their lives under bankruptcy protection.

Either way, they said, it's curious that McConnell — who has taken more than $4.3 million in campaign money from the financial sector — isn't talking about personal responsibility now.

"Clearly, we have two sets of rules: one for individuals who run into hard times and one for corporations that practice irresponsible lending," said Travis Plunkett, legislative director of the Consumer Federation of America.

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