September 18, 2013 | by Chris Johnson
Frank not interested in chairing Federal Reserve
Barney Frank, gay news, Washington Blade, Democratic Party, Massachusetts

Barney Frank (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

President Obama has yet to make a decision on who he’ll name as the next chair of the Federal Reserve, but one financial guru not interested in the job is retired gay Rep. Barney Frank.

Frank, who formerly represented Massachusetts as the longest-serving openly gay member of the U.S. House, told the Washington Blade on Tuesday he has no interest in the job.

“It’s not on anybody’s radar screen,” Frank said. “If it were offered it, I would not be interested. It’s a 14-year term. I’m 73 years old. It ought to be a felony for a 73-year-old to accept a 14-year term, and I’m just tired out after 45 years.”

Some see Frank as a good fit as for chair of the Federal Reserve because he served as chair of the House Financial Services Committee and took a lead role in crafting financial reform legislation commonly known as Dodd-Frank.

But Frank said he also doesn’t have the expertise to head up the governmental institution responsible for serving the central banking system of the United States.

“To be honest, I am not an economist and I’ve studied a lot of stuff, but I think you have to be a better technical economist than I am to even be considered,” Frank said.

Further, Frank said “there’s no remote possibility” that Obama would name him for the position because Republicans would obstruct his confirmation in the Senate.

“Given the fear that most Republican senators have of alienating the right-wing who vote in their primaries, there’s no way any of them would want to be accused of having supported me,” Frank said. “Voting for a chair of the Federal Reserve in a same-sex marriage would be toxic in their primaries.”

Speculation on who would be named the next chair of the Federal Reserve intensified on Sunday after Larry Summers, former director of the White House National Economic Council, withdrew his name from consideration before Obama named anyone to the post.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday Obama hasn’t made a decision on who’ll be the nominee and the selection process is ongoing.

“And obviously Larry Summers has asked not to be considered and the process moves forward,” Carney said. “And when the president has an announcement, that’s when you’ll hear what his decision is.”

Another widely cited possibility as successor for outgoing chair Ben Bernanke is Janet Yellin, vice chair of  the Federal Reserve. According to the Huffington Post, she’s already received an endorsement from Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

Frank said he backs the idea of selecting a nominee such as a woman or an openly gay person who would break the glass ceiling for a minority group.

“I think that’s true of any position,” Frank said. “I think diversifying beyond straight white guys is a good thing. It’s great President Obama has made some progress on that. But yeah, I’m sorry Chris Quinn didn’t get elected mayor of New York. I was a believer.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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