Barney Frank

(Barnett Frank)

Barney Frank
Barney Frank
  • Born: March 31, 1940
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Politician









Barnett Frank is a former American politician and board member of the New York-based Signature Bank. He previously served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Massachusetts from 1981 to 2013. As 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, was considered the most prominent gay politician in the United States.

Quotes About
Author Quote
Quote Topics Cited
[Richard Cheney is] an unabashed bender of the truth. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
A civil libertarian today in Washington is a conservative whose friends have been indicted. Liberals & Conservatives
A rising tide lifts all boats but if you can’t afford a boat, the tide goes up your nose. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
A strong economy is perfectly consistent with concern for equity and economic justice. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
I hadn't thought that gross stupidity was a violation of House rules. Miscellaneous
I hope I use them more than they use me. Lobbying & Special Interests
If any politician tells you he likes campaigning, you are either dealing with a liar or a psychopath. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
If they think its such a sacrifice to go into public service, then they should stay the heck out. Detriments & Qualifications ;Public Office: Benefits
If you're a gay activist, the chances are you're not going to join the Marine Corps. Military & Veterans
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. Minorities & Women
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. Privacy, Abortion & Family Planning
In Washington, excessive cynicism is the most prevalent form of naivete. I just wish reporters were as skeptical about bad news as they are about good news. Media, Journalism & The Press
Inequality is a good thing. You can’t have a capitalistic system without it. But we have excessive inequality now. Virtually all the benefits are going to a small group of people. Equality & Equal Opportunity ;Capitalism
Is the relationships with your spouses of such fragility that the fact that I have a committed, loving relationship with another man jeopardizes them? Minorities & Women
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 Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
Ken Starr has become a prosecutorial Captain Ahab. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
Money is influential in Congress, but votes will kick money’s ass any time they come up against each other. Voters, Voting & Elections
Mr. Starr, you’re the expert on unfair questions. If you tell me it’s an unfair question, I’ll withdraw it. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
No solution can be more elegant than the problem at which it is aimed allows. Legislating & Legislative Process
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, … 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. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
One of the advantages of no longer running for public office is that I don’t have to pretend to be nice to people I dislike. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Self delusion is not a good basis for making important policy. Policy & Policy Making
Sure, they’re pro-life. They believe that live begins at conception and ends at birth. Privacy, Abortion & Family Planning
Talking to the governor [Mike Dukakis] is like talking to Mount Rushmore. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
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. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
The President has a constitutional right to behave like a spoiled child. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
The right hand doesn’t know what the far right hand is doing. Liberals & Conservatives
This notion that members of Congress are power-hungry—absolutely the opposite. Most members like to duck tough issues. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
We politicians are no great shakes, but you voters are no day at the beach. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
We're all candidates all the time. Claude Pepper is eighty seven, and he's worried about redistricting in 1992. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
When I was very young, I was attracted to men and to government. I assumed that my attraction for men would likely interfere with my activity in government. I could not have believed that today, my attraction to men is much more politically acceptable than my attraction to government. Public Opinion & Polling
And I think there is too much bloviating around from politicians.
And unless you think there is a serious chance you're going to jail, don't listen to your lawyer.
As a liberal, I am morally obligated to be pragmatic. What good do I do poor people, elderly people, people who are being discriminated against because of their sexual orientation if I'm not realistic about accomplishing something.
Before this learning experience, I had assumed that with regard to programs that sought to help people out of poverty, the political world was essentially divided into two camps: conservatives who opposed these for a variety of reasons, and liberals who supported them. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
But here too it should be noted that the President's approach was to first ask the repressive and brutal Taliban to surrender Osama bin Laden to us, and only after that government refused to do that did we invade. Government
But it is also clear that left entirely untouched by public policy, the capitalist system will produce more inequality than is socially healthy or than is necessary for maximum efficiency.
But on those occasions when I do strongly disagree with the Democrats and I don't say anything, I think I forfeit my right to have people pay attention to me when I say the things that I don't like about what Republicans are saying.
But when others suggested that the poor should not simply be the objects of these programs but also the subjects - that they should be actively involved in shaping the programs, making decisions about how to spend the money etc. - some of the previous supporters reconsidered. Money, Coins & Minting
Capitalism works better from every perspective when the economic decision makers are forced to share power with those who will be affected by those decisions. Power
Community action is as valuable a principle on the international level as it has been domestically.
For many of those who had historically supported welfare programs in the broadest sense, it was perfectly reasonable to enact legislation in which poor people were the objects of efforts to assist them.
For most of my life, I have eaten to deal with stress. Life
I am not a great theologian. I know there is a theological concept called invincible ignorance in which a strong enough faith binds you to any facts to the contrary. Religion & God
I am very proud of the role I played in getting legal equality for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, and in helping get rid of the prejudice by being visible about it, helping to block the conviction of Bill Clinton of impeachment. Equality & Equal Opportunity ;Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
I filed the first gay rights bill in Massachusetts history in 1972 in the legislature, one of the first in the country. History
I had always been interested in politics. I had assumed, for a variety of - well, for two reasons, being Jewish and being gay back in the late '50s, early '60s - that I would never be elected or anything, but I would participate as an activist. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
I have been mislabeled as a big advocate of low-income home ownership over rental.
I have done a lot of work for affordable housing, rental housing. I understand the rap on me and other liberals is, oh, we push poor people into homeownership. And it's exactly the opposite of the case. We were trying to prevent those kinds of bad loans. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I hope we will not so characterize religious people as being so narrow and so biased towards people not of their own religion that they cannot even work with them in this common cause to which you say they are committed. Hope ;Religion & God ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I think there was an absolute, deep gap between consensual relations between adults, which people may like or dislike, and people who physically impose themselves on children or misuse their authority to impose on children.
I was still closeted, but from the day I decided to run for office, knowing that I was gay, I decided that I would, of course, still be closeted but that I would work very hard for gay rights. It would be totally dishonorable, being gay, not to do that. So I had that as kind of a secondary agenda. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I will tell you, I'm a lousy cook, but I think I'm a pretty good judge of a good meal.
If people knew of ethics violations, they should have sent them to the Ethics Committee. If you think there was serious ethics violation that ought to be looked at, you don't hold it back for retaliatory purposes.
I'm a good legislator. I'm a bad some other things.
I'm antisocial - there's no question about it.
In America, unlike England, unlike Israel, unlike Japan, other democracies, we have elections that have staggered terms.
In this view, the role of the great majority of Americans is simply to buy the products produced, work happily for their wages, and leave all of the significant economic decisions to the capitalists. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Increasing inequality in income distribution in this country has broader policy implications, and there is also the growing problem of perverse incentives that result from executives receiving grossly disproportionate compensation based on decisions they themselves take.
It is because the fight against the harshest aspects of unrestricted capitalism is therefore a political problem and not an intellectual one that community action remains so essential.
It is, of course, further indication that a fundamentalist right has really taken over much of the Republican Party, People might cite George Bush as proof that you can be totally impervious to the effects of Harvard and Yale education. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
It seems to me that politicians ought to use the same words as other people.
It wasn't until after I was reelected in 1982 that I thought of myself as a long-term member of Congress.
Lawyers are very, very good at keeping you out of prison, but they will sacrifice your reputation and credibility to do so.
Legislators have a formal set of responsibilities to work together, but there's no hierarchy. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Let us not say that we will decide on a political basis at the national level that no State is competent to regulate the practice of medicine in that State if they decide to allow a doctor to prescribe marijuana, because that is what we are talking about.
Martin Luther King said, and it is sadly still true, that one of the most segregated times in America is the hour of worship.
Most people who are activists and are concerned about issues get their information from sources which reinforce their opinions and give them the facts that they want to hear.
Now, most of the time I'm going to agree with the Democrats and disagree with the Republicans. Time
Pat Moynihan could write books with one hand and legislate with the other. I can't; I have a short attention span. The slightest distraction would take me away from writing.
People are entitled to the presumption of innocence.
Television is apparently the enemy of nuance. But nuance is essential for a thoughtful discussion.
The Clinton tax increase - which was an increase in taxes primarily on upper-income people - not only made the tax code more nearly progressive, it preceded one of the most productive economic periods in American life. Life
The fact that they're a congressionally chartered group should no more incline people to give to that group than the fact that it's National Pickle Month should make them eat more pickles.
The left and the right live in parallel universes. The right listens to talk radio, the left's on the Internet and they just reinforce one another. They have no sense of reality. I have now one ambition: to retire before it becomes essential to tweet.
The regulation of medicine has been a State function.
There's a lot to be said for not displacing people.
There's only one thing you can do in bankruptcy: break your word, break your deals. It allows you to say to the small businesses, who have been catering lunches for you, 'Sorry, we're not paying you.' It allows you to go to the workers and say, 'Sorry, we're not paying you.'
They appear to have become so attached to their outrage that they are even more outraged that they won't be able to be outraged anymore.
This bill is the legislative equivalent of crack. It yields a short-term high but does long-term damage to the system and it's expensive to boot.
Today, many people take for granted the notion that people whose lives are going to be very heavily affected by public policies should have a say in how they are formulated and carried out.
Well, I don't give it out very often, but I reject the notion that you have to be a practitioner to give good advice.
Well, many of us believe that excessive media concentration is a subject that ought to be addressed, and it is, of course, the intention of the majority party not to allow that to be discussed.
What would be the nicest thing I could say about Newt Gingrich? He may be one of the great supporters of the humanities, because you have people who don't want to study the social sciences, because it's not profitable, and now Newt, as the highest-paid historian in American history, may be an encouragement to people to study history. History
What's troubling is that the Republicans to defend Mr. DeLay are weakening the ethics process.
When community action was put into federal law in the early sixties as part of the effort to combat poverty and social injustice, I supported it intellectually.
While I was pleasantly surprised by the relatively high number of jobs created in April, the fact is that job creation during this recovery period has significantly lagged both historical experience in recovery, and the projections of the Bush Administration.