WASHINGTON — Rep. Barney Frank, outgoing ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, may be putting retirement on hold for a few more months.
The Massachusetts Democrat, known for his decades of work on financial issues including helping craft the Dodd-Frank reform law, said on Friday that he would like to join the Senate — at least temporarily.
He told the hosts of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that he is now interested in filling the seat left open by Sen. John Kerry, who has been nominated for Secretary of State, until a special election is held later this year. After he had initially downplayed the idea, Frank said he is now drawn to the idea of being part of ongoing debates about the country's fiscal situation. The recent congressional compromise on tax rates — which delayed automatic spending cuts — means lawmakers still have a lot of work to do in crafting a longer-term solution.
"Two weeks ago I said I wasn't interested, which is kind of like [when] you're about to graduate, and they said, 'You have to go to summer school,'" Frank said on the morning show. "That deal now means that February, March and April are going to be among the most important months in American financial [history]."
Pressed by program host Joe Scarborough, a former GOP Congressman himself, Frank added that he has told Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick that he would like to take the short-term spot. Frank has repeatedly said that he is not planning to run in the special election for the seat.
"I'm not going to be coy. It's not something I've ever been good at. I've told the governor that I would now like frankly to do that because I would like to be a part of that," he said. "It's only a three-month period. I wouldn't want to do anything more."
Patrick has said he will not fill the temporary position until Kerry is confirmed and there is an official vacancy, according to press reports.
Frank, meanwhile, also divulged some of his plans for life post-Congress.
"I'm going to write a couple of books — I hope, if my powers of concentration hold out. Give lectures, do some teaching and maybe some TV commentary," he said. "I think, basically, run my mouth for money."
He added: "And one other very important thing: I'm not marching in any more parades, ever."