U.S. Congressman (1981-2012) & Chairman, House Financial Services Committee (2007-2011)
First elected to Congress in 1980, Barney Frank is known as a superb legislator and a pragmatic politician whose sharp intellect and sense of humor has made him one of the most influential and colorful figures in Washington.
While in Congress, Frank worked to adjust America’s spending priorities to reduce the deficit, provide less funding for the military and more for important quality of life needs at home. In particular, he focused on providing aid to local communities, and to building and preserving affordable rental housing for low income people.
He has also been a leader in the fight against discrimination of various sorts. He championed the interest of the poor, the underprivileged and the vulnerable, winning re-election 12 times by wide margins.
As chair of the House Financial Services Committee form 2007-2011, Frank was instrumental in crafting a compromise bill to stem the tide of home mortgage foreclosures, as well as the subsequent $550 billion rescue plan. He worked to adopt a sweeping set of financial regulations aimed at preventing a recurrence of this crisis, and was a key author of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the regulatory overhaul signed into law in July 2010. He also led the passage of the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act, a measure that drew praise from editorial boards and consumer advocates.
In 1987, Frank became the first member of Congress to voluntarily come out as openly gay, and in 2012 he married his longtime partner, becoming the nation’s first congressman in a same-sex marriage while in office.
After sixteen terms in Congress, Frank’s legacy as a champion of civil rights and financial reform, as well as his ability to simplify any issue at hand in a clever and witty way, was sorely missed. According to the Wall Street Journal: “Mr. Frank’s combative liberalism and quick wit make him a standout in a Capitol filled with politicians dependent on talking points and polls, a trait alluded to by Mr. Obama who said in a written statement that, “The House of Representatives will not be the same without him.”
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