Dear Ms. Lauber, may I offer you some information you might find useful in your campaign against Todd Akin for the Republican nomination in CD 2? If you subscribe to the idea that the enemy of your enemy is your friend, you might want to check out Barney Frank’s press release about some remarks Congressman Akin made on the House floor last spring. Akin berated Democrats, and Barney Frank in particular, for failing to rein in Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. It turns out, though, that Mr. Akin is the one who opposed regulating Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae when Frank introduced legislation on that topic–not a fact Akin would want advertised.
In 2007, when the Democrats assumed control of both Houses of Congress and Mr. Frank became Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Congressman Frank moved quickly to pass a bill to regulate the GSEs [Government-sponsored enterprises]. He introduced the Federal Housing Reform Act of 2007 (H.R. 1427), on March 9th and it was approved by the Committee on March 29th.
The bill was passed by the full House on May 22nd, with all 223 Democrats and 90 Republicans voting in favor of the bill, and 104 Republicans voting against it. Among those voting against regulation of the GSEs was Congressman Todd Akin (R-MO), who led the Special Orders on Wednesday.
In 2007, Congressman Frank, along with Representatives Brad Miller and Mel Watt, introduced the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act (H.R. 3915) which would regulate predatory subprime mortgages. The bill passed the full House on November 15th, with all 227 Democrats and 64 Republicans voting yes, and 127 Republicans voting no. Representative Akin voted against the bill.
Admittedly, there is one wee problem with using Barney Frank’s press release, that being the way he skewers Republicans, citing example after example, for refusing to control subprime lending or regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over the twelve year period when they controlled the House.
“According to the Republican version of the history of the financial crisis, as presented on the House floor on Wednesday by Representative Todd Akin (R-MO), Congressman Frank is responsible for the fact that no legislation passed the Congress to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac until 2007, and no bill trying to restrict subprime lending passed the House between 1994 and 2007. The problem with their argument is that the Republicans were in power from 1995 through 2006 in the House, and they had complete control over what legislation did or did not pass.
“Being accused of having blocked legislation to prohibit irresponsible lending to low-income people from 1995 to 2006 is flattering in a bizarre way,” Frank noted. “Apparently those Republicans parroting these right-wing talking points believe that I had some heretofore undisclosed power over first Newt Gingrich and then Tom DeLay, which allowed me to keep them from passing legislation they wanted to pass. If that had been true, I would have used that power to block the impeachment of Bill Clinton in the House, the war in Iraq, large tax cuts for the very wealthy, the intrusion into the sad case of Terri Schiavo, and appropriations bills that badly underfunded important social priorities.
“I did not try to stop them from passing legislation to control subprime lending or to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac because in the first case they were never willing to do so, and in the second case, I worked together with Republican Chairman Mike Oxley on the only bill that the Republicans considered during that period to restrict Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the bill was defeated because, in the words of Mr. Oxley, the Bush administration gave his efforts ‘the one-finger salute.'”
Not to worry, though, Ms. Lauber, about this and several other damaging examples Frank cites of Republican obstructionism regarding banking regulation between early 1995 and the end of 2006. Just don’t quote any of that stuff on your campaign literature. There’s not one voter in a hundred who will go to Frank’s original press release and read it, and that kind of nosy critical thinker isn’t going to be a Republican anyway.
photo of Todd Akin courtesy of FiredUp!