Barnett "Barney" Frank (born March 31, 1940) is an American politician who served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Massachusetts from 1981 to 2013. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee (2007–2011) and was a leading co-sponsor of the 2010 Dodd–Frank Act, a sweeping reform of the U.S. financial industry. Frank, a resident of Newton, Massachusetts, is considered the most prominent gay politician in the United States.
- I'm used to being in the minority. I'm a left-handed gay Jew. I've never felt, automatically, a member of any majority.
- Interview with Claudia Dreifus in September and October 1995, published in Times Magazine (4 February 1996)
- These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis. The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.
- Moderate Republicans are reverse Houdinis. They tie themselves up in knots and then tell you they can't do anything because they're tied up in knots.
- Quoted in Dionne, E. J., The Washington Post, (16 November 2004)]
- The issue is not that morals be applied to public policy, it's that conservatives bring public policy to spheres of our lives where it should not enter.
- … [they] believe that life begins at conception and ends at birth…
- In the debate between those who believe in essentially unregulated markets and others who hold that reasonable regulation diminishes market excesses without inhibiting their basic function, the subprime situation unfortunately provides ammunition for the latter view.
- I do have things I would like to see adopted on behalf of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people: they include the right to marry the individual of our choice; the right to serve in the military to defend our country; and the right to a job based solely on our own qualifications. I acknowledge that this is an agenda, but I do not think that any self-respecting radical in history would have considered advocating people's rights to get married, join the army, and earn a living as a terribly inspiring revolutionary platform.
- Frank on being accused of having a "radical homosexual agenda" Statement of U.S. Representative Barney Frank on the Inclusion of people who are Transgender in Antidiscrimination Protection Legislation (March 2008)
- In a free society a large degree of human activity is none of the government's business. We should make criminal what's going to hurt other people and other than that we should leave it to people to make their own choices.
- Frank commenting on legislation to remove federal criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use. CNN Newsroom : Rep. Barney Frank's Marijuana Bill (30 July 2008)]
- Here's the story: There's a terrible crisis affecting the American economy. We have come together on a bill to alleviate the crisis. And because somebody hurt their feelings they decide to punish the country. I mean, I would not have imputed that degree of pettiness and hypersensitivity [...] But think about this: Somebody hurt my feelings so I will punish the country. I mean, that's hardly plausible. And there are 12 Republican members who were ready to stand up for the economic interests of America but not if anybody insulted them. I'll make an offer: Give me those 12 people's names and I will go talk uncharacteristically nicely to them and tell them what wonderful people they are and maybe they'll now think about the country.
- There are a lot of ways to mispronounce my name. That is the least common […] I checked with my mother. In 50 years no one's ever called her "Elsie Fag".
- I've seen anti-Semitism essentially disappear in my adult life as a social and economic factor. There may be some nuts out there, but generally things are fine. I think the same thing will happen with gayness. We'll get to a point soon enough where it's not even an issue anymore. But progress can be slow. I filed my first gay rights bills in 1972 in Massachusetts. Forty years later, it would be nice to have this wrapped up and put to bed.
- It is possible to debate how strong America should be militarily in relation to the rest of the world. But that is not a debate that needs to be entered into to reduce the military budget by a large amount. If, beginning one year from now, we were to cut military spending by 25 percent from its projected levels, we would still be immeasurably stronger than any combination of nations with whom we might be engaged... Spending on military hardware does produce some jobs, but it is one of the most inefficient ways to deploy public funds to stimulate the economy. When I asked him years ago what he thought about military spending as stimulus, Alan Greenspan, to his credit, noted that.. .it was not good for the economy; and to the extent that it could be reduced, the economy would benefit...The math is compelling: if we do not make reductions approximating 25 percent of the military budget starting fairly soon, it will be impossible to continue to fund an adequate level of domestic activity even with a repeal of Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy.
- Barney Frank: ‘Cut the Military Budget’, The Nation (2 March 2009)
- Questioner: Why do you continue to support a Nazi policy as Obama has expressly supported this policy? Why are you supporting it?
Frank: When you ask me that question I am gonna revert to my ethnic heritage and answer your question with a question: On what planet do you spend most of your time? [...] As you stand there with a picture of the President defaced to look like Hitler, and compare the effort to increase health care to the Nazis, my answer to you is, as I said before, it is a tribute to the First Amendment that this kind of vile, contemptible nonsense is so freely propagated. Ma'am, trying to have a conversation with you would be like arguing with a dining room table: I have no interest in doing it.
- I’m surprised to find absence of explicit anti-Semitism this time. Was a page missing?
- In response to a constituent’s angry letter. Quoted in Slate Magazine, November 29, 2011.
- There are no moderate Republicans left, with the exception of a few who would vote with us when it doesn't make any difference. It's the most rigid ideological party since before the Civil War. [...] The bumper sticker I'm going to have printed up for Democrats this year is, "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."
- From his keynote speech at the Maine People's Alliance 30th anniversary Rising Tide awards dinner, June 9, 2012, held at Woodford's Congregational Church in Portland.
- Quoted in Koenig, Seth (June 10, 2012). "Barney Frank tackles gay marriage, defense spending in Portland speech". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved on 2012-06-11.
- The opposite of pragmatism is not idealism. It’s wishful thinking.
- Quoted in Willies, Egberto (October 11, 2015). "Barney Frank has a message for Bernie Sanders supporters they won't like". dailykos.com. Retrieved on 2015-10-11.
- The single most important thing you can do politically for gay rights is to come out. Not to write a letter to your congressman but to come out.
- Quoted in "The Path to Gay Rights: How Activism and Coming Out Changed Public Opinion" by Jeremiah J. Garretson, chapter 9, pg 229.