Barney Frank gets a birthday present from a GOP lawmaker

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) turned 71 last Thursday, and members of a House Financial Services subcommittee gave him some love.

Freshman Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) reached across the aisle to give Frank a birthday present, albeit a very Washington kind of gift.

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Speaking halfway through the hearing, Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) was first to note that it was Frank’s birthday, requesting a point of order to mark his colleague’s milestone.

The subcommittee’s chairman, Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), nodded and wished Frank a happy birthday, which garnered applause from the packed room. 

Appearing to sense that Frank might have something pithy to contribute, Garrett yielded to him for “a retort.”

The notoriously quick-witted lawmaker didn’t disappoint. 

“I would simply say that, while the gentleman’s time has expired, I’m pleased to say that at least I have not, as yet.”

The last word wasn’t the only thing that Frank got for his birthday, however.

A few minutes later Grimm offered his ideological adversary a gift that only a politician could appreciate: He agreed with him.

“I do have to admit,” Grimm began, “and maybe because it’s his birthday — I agree with ranking member Frank, and that will be his birthday present, [my agreement that the home mortgage] interest deduction should not go away.”

Frank didn’t expressly acknowledge Grimm’s gift, but given the state of budget negotiations in the House, even a little common ground can feel like a splurge.