House: Barney Frank banned from speaking for day

Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., received a day-long ban from speaking on the House floor today, and the comments he had made were removed from the record, after he violated House rules with a personal attack on Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas.

"I have never seen truth stood on its head more rapidly than my colleague from Texas [just did]," Frank said today after Hensarling spoke on the House Floor. "For the gentleman from Texas -- having been part of the leadership that engaged in that shameful maneuver -- to now accuse us of being excessively concerned with credit is the most hypocritical and dishonest statement I have heard uttered in this House." Before making those remarks, Frank had acknowledged that "you may not accuse anyone else of being disingenuous, under the House rules."

Frank and Hensarling had been arguing about two very similar pieces of legislation -- one sponsored by Rep. Ben Quayle, R-Ariz., and the other sponsored bipartisanly by Reps. Dave Schweikert, R-Ariz., and Jim Himes, D-Conn. -- intended to make it easier for shareholders to invest in community banks. "That's not just a bill, it's a shape-shifter," Frank said of Quayle's bill, which was being included in a larger package of legislation. "They stole the bill from Mr. Schweikert and Mr. Himes and made a present of it to the gentleman from Arizona, Mr. Quayle." 

Hensarling admonished Frank for worrying about who gets the credit for the legislation, prompting Frank's impermissible remarks, which Hensarling then asked to be removed from the House record in keeping with House rules. "Without objection, the offending words are stricken from the record," the House chair said. A member of Congress who has had his comments removed from the record may not speak on the Floor for the rest of the day, "even on yielded time," according to House practice.

At least some Republicans were happy with the result. "Hensarling forcing Barney Frank to foul out in the first quarter is a good sneak peak at what the committee debate will look like under a Chairman Hensarling," a House Republican aide told The Washington Examiner. 


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