Barney Frank Girds For Battle

Barney Frank officially declared war today. He’s opening the front for the passage of the legislation needed to create the new consumer financial protection agency.


The banks have made killing the consumer agency their “highest priority,” Frank said, so he says he’s going to give them the national debate they seem so eager to have.

“Frankly, if I were the bankers I would not invite a debate over whether or not I’ve been all that great in the consumer area and whether or not people should just trust us. But that’s what they want, and I think that’s what we will have,” he said at a press conference Wednesday.

“I didn’t expect them to cheer for this but I’ve been disappointed by the energy” they’re dedicating to defeating the proposal, he said, adding he hoped they would put that effort into collaborating with lawmakers to create a structure to avoid problems that caused the current crisis.

He characterized the press event as the launch of a “campaign” to secure passage of the new consumer agency.

There had been talk that this initiative was dying a slow death and probably wouldn’t see the light of day this year. With everything else that’s on Congress’s plate that might still be what comes to pass but it sounds like someone put a burr under his saddle. There appears to be something personal in this one. Maybe the criticism that he had more than a little bit to do with the failure of the mortgage system is starting to bite.

It should make for interesting theater.

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