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Barney Frank

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

Barney Frank

Member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-Mass.)

The powerful chairman of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee is widely seen as one of the most influential—not to mention wittiest—members of Congress. A 14-term Democrat from eastern Massachusetts, Frank may be at the peak of his power this year as Congress debates financial regulatory reforms in the wake of the global economic crisis. He has already raised the idea of shutting down Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE), the troubled government mortgage guarantee companies, and supports the Obama Administration's proposals to limit risky trading activity by commercial banks. On Jan. 28, Frank said in a Bloomberg interview at Davos that his discussions at the conference with other lawmakers and regulars from around the world produced strong consensus for coordinated global action on reform.