Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), an outspoken advocate of Wall Street reform, will retire from Congress next month after more than 30 years on Capitol Hill.
In 1987, Frank, an advocate of affordable housing and an opponent of the death penalty, became the first sitting member of Congress to come out as gay. Frank, 72, married Jim Ready, his longtime partner, in July, DealBook reports.
Frank also championed the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which banned gays from serving openly in the military.
As chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Frank helped to pass the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, the massive financial reform effort that overhauled the financial services industry and U.S. banking system..
Frank said he was relieved to be retiring from Congress.
“I’m just tired,” Frank said, according to DealBook. “Look, I’m still here, and I still have responsibility. But when the people who work for me or somebody calls me with a problem, my first reaction is, ‘Well, do I have to?’”
Additionally, Frank said that liberals should “stop trying to ride two horses.”
“Stop trying to push for the expansion of important government programs while joining in the bashing of government,” Frank said, DealBook reports. “It doesn’t work. I think liberals should say, ‘We think government’s a good thing, done right, and we’re for expanding it.’ But then the way you effectuate that, in my judgment, is by a substantial reduction in America’s military budget.”
Frank also said that Dodd-Frank was his most difficult challenge in Congress, adding that the controversial Durbin Amendment, of which he is an outspoken critic, will not “help the consumer.”
When asked about his favorite moment during his career, Frank cited the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
“When that got repealed, both in terms of what it meant for gay people in terms of repealing this libel that there was something the matter with us, and in terms of what it meant for the country, that was a very high moment,” Frank said, according to DealBook.