Barney Frank (D-Mass.) says he does not intend to seek re-election in 2012. Frank said his decision was partly due to the fact that the state's new redistricting map will include many people he has never represented.
BREAKING: BARNEY FRANK LEAVING CONGRESS.Free at last, free at last…thank God Almighty we are free at last! HRC honored left-wing pundit who used term that earned Sarah Palin excoriation (when her daughter used it) •
Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank, a long-time advocate of affordable housing who also played a major role in crafting landmark financial services regulation, stated on Monday that he would not seek re-election for his 17th term of office in 2012.
As chairman of the House Financial Services Committee until this year, when Republicans took control of the House of Representatives, Frank had often been at the center of legislative actions that had an impact on the housing and mortgage banking markets. NAHB named him its Federal Official of the Year for 2008, citing his actions “to provide reasonably priced, affordable mortgage solutions to millions of potential home owners while greatly enhancing liquidity in the mortgage credit markets.” NAHB also lauded Frank’s efforts to modernize the Federal Housing Administration and reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Articulate, acerbic, and combative, Frank has been one of the leading liberal voices in Congress since voters in his state’s 4th District first elected him in 1980. But at 71, Frank decided against running again partly to avoid what is expected to be a tough race in a district that in recent weeks has been altered to include more conservative towns. Even if he had run and won, Frank says he intended to retire in 2014.
Barney Frank--with a crucial assist from Republicans such as Ron Paul--filled that space. As Wall Street Journal columnist Gerald Seib noted, "Reps. Paul and Frank are doing more than writing a blog post.... These two odd-fellow members of Congress are harbingers of things to come. Annual defense spending has more than doubled over the last decade, largely because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But now the deficit is high, the debt is growing, and those wars are winding down, one way or another. So the parallel move to wind down Pentagon spending is coming.
The only questions are how big the urge to curb will be, and what form it will take."It is unfortunate that not just Frank but also Paul plans to retire when the current Congress completes its work. They brought a realistic approach to deficit reduction that began with an understanding that the place to begin is with necessary cuts to a bloated-beyond-belief Pentagon budget.Bio: John Nichols is the Washington correspondent for The Nation. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.