President Barack Obama's post-partisan campaign theme has only emboldened the GOP's opposition to his agenda, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said on Sunday.
Frank's rejection of bipartisanship comes at a time when many congressional liberals are calling on Democratic leaders to pass healthcare reform by a party line vote. Frank's comments are one of the few to directly take on the president.
Frank, speaking at the Oakland County (Mich.) Democratic Party Dinner, said that Democrats could not count on Republicans to support healthcare reform and new financial regulations as a result of "extreme conservatives'" opposition to the president.
"Knowing how far right the Republican Party has become, when Obama said he was going to be post-partisan president, I got post-partisan depression,” Frank said, according to the Detroit Free Press. "That would empower a group of extreme conservatives and it’s simply not possible to work with them on major public policy."
The House Financial Services Committee chairman has frequently criticized Republicans and other opponents of major reform legislation.
Frank called opposition to the financial regulations unfounded because many of the ideas were sprouted during last year's economic crisis during President George W. Bush's term in office.
"They have been more successful in blaming us for the consequences of their behavior," Frank told the crowd. "They talk about all these bailouts they don't like. But every single public policy that we’ve been talking about was started under George W. Bush."
Frank also said that bargaining with Republican for their votes only waters down provisions in the bills. He said Congress had to eliminate $25 billion from the stimulus in order to pick up a "three Republican votes."
"That would have meant about $1 billion for Michigan," he added.