NACBA serves as the voice for debtor attorneys and their clients in the U.S. Congress, the Justice Department, the Judiciary, and other federal agencies. NACBA also works with its members to represent consumer debtor interest in state capitals. NACBA’s team of legislative advocates in Washington works with a coalition of allies who often join our efforts. Recognizing the "gatekeeper" role the news media plays in shaping public opinion, NACBA serves as the central clearinghouse for media requests regarding bankruptcy issues and proactively carries out public awareness campaigns, conducting media events emphasizing the availability and benefits of bankruptcy, as well as the need for meaningful consumer bankruptcy.
From its earliest days, NACBA has devoted enormous energy to protecting and enhancing the rights of consumer bankruptcy debtors by getting involved in legislative efforts to change the Bankruptcy Code. As a direct result of NACBA’s involvement in the Congressional debate, the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1994 included many provisions beneficial to consumer debtors. Subsequently, NACBA and its members figured prominently in the deliberations of the National Bankruptcy Review Commission, from its initial meeting up through its final report.
When the consumer credit industry and its backers in Congress ignored the Commission Report and introduced their anti-consumer bills, NACBA was there to lead the fight to preserve basic bankruptcy rights. NACBA developed a strategy that included educating individuals and organizations that could be affected by the proposed changes. Through this outreach, coordinated by NACBA, a broad alliance of groups representing consumers, women, working families, and seniors, as well as religious organizations, civil rights groups, and organizations devoted to social justice, came together to oppose the creditors’ bill. Although the bill eventually passed, NACBA’s advocacy helped delay that passage for eight years and also defeated many of the most onerous proposed changes. When the bill was signed into law in 2005, it was NACBA that educated thousands of consumer bankruptcy attorneys on how to effectively represent clients in the new environment.
NACBA has led recent efforts in Congress to enact mortgage modification legislation. Working closely with a broad coalition of allies in this effort, NACBA has led the fight to enact bankruptcy legislation that would help save hundreds of thousands of homes from foreclosure by allow for court-supervised modification of home mortgages. This proposal was included in several legislative bills in both houses of Congress and was widely endorsed by major newspaper across the country.
Members join together annually in Washington for our Capitol Hill Meeting, during which members attend an extensive training session, covering how to have an effective meeting with a member of Congress and articulate NACBA’s legislative objectives and priorities and then attend NACBA-arranged meetings with their Congress members and senators.