Barney Frank

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  • U.S. Congressman (1981-2013)
  • Chairman, House Financial Services Committee (2007-2011)


Barney Frank served as a US Congressman from 1981-2013 and Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee from 2007-2011. While in Congress, Frank worked to adjust America’s spending priorities to reduce the deficit by providing less funding for the military, thereby protecting funding 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 was also a leader in the fight against discrimination of various sorts. He championed the interests of the poor, the underprivileged, and the vulnerable, and he won reelection 16 times by double-digit margins.

As Chair of the House Financial Services Committee, Frank was instrumental in crafting the short-term $700 billion rescue plan in response to the mortgage crisis, and he then worked for the adoption of a sweeping set of financial regulations aimed at preventing a recurrence. He was co-author of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the regulatory overhaul signed into law in July 2010. He also led passage of the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act, a measure that drew praise from editorial boards and consumer advocates.

In 1987 he became the first Member of Congress to voluntarily acknowledge that he is gay, and in 2012 became the first Member of Congress to marry his same-sex partner, James Ready.

In 2014 a documentary titled Compared to What: The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank was released. In the film, Frank gives a rare and intimate peek into the life of Barney Frank as a quick-witted, cantankerous, and first openly gay Congressman in the United States. On the verge of his retirement, Frank reflects on his 40 years in office and the role his own homosexuality played in his campaigns for social justice. An unvarnished example of when the personal meets the political, with incredible “bare all” access, this documentary reveals Frank as one of the most sharp-tongued, entertaining, and lionhearted politicians of our time.

In addition, he has written two books: Speaking Frankly, in 1992, a critique of some aspects of the Democrats approach to public policy; and a political memoir published in 2015 titled Frank: From the Great Society to Same Sex Marriage. He has taught at Harvard, Boston University, the University of Massachusetts Boston, and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

 

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Rave Reviews About Barney Frank
Thank you for participating in our Combined Presidential Symposium-Miller's Court this year and for so powerfully articulating aspects of government that are capturing our individual attention these days. I was also moved by your candid discussion of your own personal experience being the first openly gay member of Congress.I am still hearing from audience members about how thought-provoking and informative they found the session to be. I deeply appreciate your willingness to be part of our intellectual feast, and to share your expertise and experience in such a personal and accessible way.

A Sample of the Groups That Have Hosted Barney Frank
  • 1st Alliance Lending
  • University of Rochester
In Conversation - From Bayonne, New Jersey to the U.S. Congress | 92Y [1:19:31] - Get Sharable Link
Explore Barney Frank's Talks
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America and Israel

Barney Frank has been a staunch advocate of an American policy that fully supports Israel's right to remain a free, secure, Jewish democratic state. He has also made the point that criticism of the particular policies of the government in Israel at any one time is in no way inconsistent with that, a ...

Barney Frank has been a staunch advocate of an American policy that fully supports Israel's right to remain a free, secure, Jewish democratic state. He has also made the point that criticism of the particular policies of the government in Israel at any one time is in no way inconsistent with that, and he has in fact been among the leaders of liberals who have articulated this position - of full support for Israel's right to exist, with an independent perspective on Israeli policies. He has been a critic of the settlement policy, and a strong supporter of the Israeli domestic policies on the rights of women, religious freedom, the rights of LGBT people and other policies that sharply differentiate Israel from all of its neighbors.

 

Financial Reform

As chair of the House Financial Services Committee, Frank was instrumental in crafting some of the most sweeping financial reform laws in history, including the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the regulatory overhaul s ...

As chair of the House Financial Services Committee, Frank was instrumental in crafting some of the most sweeping financial reform laws in history, including the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the regulatory overhaul signed into law in July 2010. With his trademark skill at getting quickly to the heart of complex issues, Frank offers unique insight into the financial crisis, the current path we're on, and what we can expect going forward.

Gridlock In Washington: How It Came About And How It Can Be Ended

After sixteen terms in Congress, few people know the inner workings of Washington better than Barney Frank. Though known as an ardent Democrat, Frank often reached across the aisle, helping to pass bipartisan legislation. In a survey of Members of Congress, Frank had the unique distinction of being ...

After sixteen terms in Congress, few people know the inner workings of Washington better than Barney Frank. Though known as an ardent Democrat, Frank often reached across the aisle, helping to pass bipartisan legislation. In a survey of Members of Congress, Frank had the unique distinction of being voted one of the most partisan and one of the most bipartisan members. Hank Paulson, Jr. Secretary of the Treasury under the Bush Administration said, "When we're faced with a tough situation and a real need for immediate action, Barney approaches the discussion in a pragmatic way and doesn't let perfect be the enemy of the good. He is looking to get things done and make a difference. He focuses on areas of agreement and tries to build on those." In this talk, Frank offers a truly inside perspective of how Washington works and how it can work better in the public interest and what Congress can do to truly get things done.

Tackling the Deficit

Barney Frank has consistently been one of the strongest voices in Congress for reducing America's excessive military spending to allow deficit reduction to proceed in a socially responsible way. In the past two years, in the arguments he has been making about the wisdom of a reduced worldwide Americ ...

Barney Frank has consistently been one of the strongest voices in Congress for reducing America's excessive military spending to allow deficit reduction to proceed in a socially responsible way. In the past two years, in the arguments he has been making about the wisdom of a reduced worldwide American military presence, he has been one of the leaders in this debate. He continues these efforts as a private citizen.

 

The Gay Rights Movement

As the nation's first Congressman to voluntarily come out as openly gay and the first to be in a same sex marriage while in office, Barney Frank has been at the forefront of the gay rights movement. Frank has been a central figure in every gay rights battle that has taken place in the history of the ...

As the nation's first Congressman to voluntarily come out as openly gay and the first to be in a same sex marriage while in office, Barney Frank has been at the forefront of the gay rights movement. Frank has been a central figure in every gay rights battle that has taken place in the history of the U.S. Congress, and was instrumental in several important victories, including the abolition of the anti-gay provision of U.S. Immigration Law; the abolition of the rule that denied LGBT people security clearance; the enactment of a fully-inclusive hate crimes bill for LGBT people; and the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Either by himself or with his husband, James Ready, Frank illuminates the arc of the gay rights movement and shares what's ahead for LGBT issues.

 

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Biography

Barney Frank served as a US Congressman from 1981-2013 and Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee from 2007-2011. While in Congress, Frank worked to adjust America’s spending priorities to reduce the deficit by providing less funding for the military, thereby protecting funding 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 was also a leader in the fight against discrimination of various sorts. He championed the interests of the poor, the underprivileged, and the vulnerable, and he won reelection 16 times by double-digit margins.

As Chair of the House Financial Services Committee, Frank was instrumental in crafting the short-term $700 billion rescue plan in response to the mortgage crisis, and he then worked for the adoption of a sweeping set of financial regulations aimed at preventing a recurrence. He was co-author of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the regulatory overhaul signed into law in July 2010. He also led passage of the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act, a measure that drew praise from editorial boards and consumer advocates.

In 1987 he became the first Member of Congress to voluntarily acknowledge that he is gay, and in 2012 became the first Member of Congress to marry his same-sex partner, James Ready.

In 2014 a documentary titled Compared to What: The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank was released. In the film, Frank gives a rare and intimate peek into the life of Barney Frank as a quick-witted, cantankerous, and first openly gay Congressman in the United States. On the verge of his retirement, Frank reflects on his 40 years in office and the role his own homosexuality played in his campaigns for social justice. An unvarnished example of when the personal meets the political, with incredible “bare all” access, this documentary reveals Frank as one of the most sharp-tongued, entertaining, and lionhearted politicians of our time.

In addition, he has written two books: Speaking Frankly, in 1992, a critique of some aspects of the Democrats approach to public policy; and a political memoir published in 2015 titled Frank: From the Great Society to Same Sex Marriage. He has taught at Harvard, Boston University, the University of Massachusetts Boston, and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.