Washington, Nov. 18--Conservative Christian groups have claimed an improbable victory after the U.S. House voted down a version of a bankruptcy bill, which featured a controversial amendment that targeted pro-life protesters. According to "The New York Times," the bill, which was championed by credit card companies, banks and retailers, was rejected Thursday on a 243-172 vote, with 87 Republicans turning against their party's leadership and the White House to oppose the bill. President Bush had vowed to sign the measure if it reached his desk.
The Republican opposition was led by conservative, anti-abortion lawmakers who said a provision of the bill sponsored by abortion supporter Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., would have unfairly punished pro-life activists by restricting their ability to use the bankruptcy courts to write off court fines. "I love my party, but I don't think I should have to sacrifice my core convictions to be in good standing," said Rep. Christopher Smith, R-N.J., who led the opposition.
Family Research Council (FRC) and Focus on the Family "worked hard all week lobbying members personally and generating hundreds of phone calls and e-mails to the Capitol," FRC president Ken Connor said. "...This was a big win for the pro-life movement."
Christian Coalition president Roberta Combs said the pro-life movement had won one of "its most stunning congressional victories." She added: "This vote should go a long way to prove to the leaders of the Republican Party that with the help of the pro-life and pro-family movement, we can gain many victories next year during the 108th Congress."
A version of the bankruptcy bill -- without the Schumer amendment -- passed easily last Friday on a 244-116 vote, with no Republicans voting against it. The new version now goes to the Senate.