Barney Frank is probably not on many people’s list of favorite U.S. Representatives around here. However, it appears that he is taking the lead on cooperation with House Republicans as they try to alter a small provision of the Dodd-Frank Act that was passed over the summer. To be fair, Frank was never really supportive of the original provision, pushed by Dick Durbin in the Senate, on limiting fees that credit card companies and banks could charge merchants. The Bloomberg article also notes that,

“The interchange issue has created unorthodox battle lines in Congress, with some Republicans who side with large merchants voting for the rules, and Democrats, unconvinced by the argument, voting against.”

Despite this, it seems to be a good sign that a few things could actually be accomplished in the House over the next two years. Especially since Frank, usually considered one of the most liberal (if not one of the loudest, most obnoxious) Representatives in the House, is actually going out of his way to announce his willingness to work Republicans.


  • Steve Feinstein

    Being from MA and knowing several of the people who worked on challenger Sean Bielat’s campaign, I can attest first-hand to the seriousness with which Frank took Bielat’s challenge. It was the first time that Frank had been truly tested, the first time he had to defend himself for his actions in the Freddie/Fannie debacle, and the first time that the super-liberal Boston media actually agreed to stage debates between Frank and his challenger.

    Bielat ran a very spirited campaign and pushed Mr. Frank beyond where he’d been pushed before. The contest ‘felt’ a lot closer than the final vote totals showed, as huge monolithically-Democratic regions simply ended up swamping Bielat, ending his chances.

    But the race attracted national attention, and much like a previously untouchable fighter who is decked and given a hard time in a fight, all his future opponents know his weaknesses and know he can be floored with a good one.

    This strikes one as nothing more than a pre-emptive move by Frank to appear “bi-partisan,” in an effort to head off future challenges, to be able to point to a concrete cooperative accomplishment and say to on-the-fence voters next time, “See? I’ve learned my lesson, don’t abandon me, I’m not arrogant, I can work in everyone’s interest.”

    You had to be in MA last November to truly understand the feel of the Bielat challenge. It was almost Brown-like. Had this been a Statewide contest, Bielat would’ve won.