Budget Enforcement Act of 1990, Majority Leader, North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Presidential campaign (1992), Republican Party, U.S. Representatives
William E. “Bill” Frenzel was born July 31, 1928, in St. Paul, Minnesota. He attended Saint Paul Academy and received a B.A. from Dartmouth College in 1950 and an M.A. in 1951. He served as a lieutenant in the Navy from 1951 to 1954 during the Korean War. He served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1962 to 1970, when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Minnesota’s Third District. He held that office from 1971 until he retired in 1991; he served on the House Budget Committee and the Ways and Means Committee during his tenure. He also served as a Congressional Representative to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) for fifteen years. Since retiring from the House, Frenzel was president of the Ripon Society until 2004, a guest scholar of the Brookings Institute and, in 1997, was named director of the Brookings Governmental Affairs Institute. In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed him to the bipartisan President’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security and, in 2002, to chair the Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations. He currently chairs the Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care, is the vice chairman of the Eurasia Foundation, chairman of the Japan-America Society, chairman of the U.S. Steering Committee of the Transatlantic Policy Network, co-chairman of the Center for Strategic Tax Reform, co-chairman of the Bretton Woods Committee, co-chairman of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, chairman of the Executive Committee of the International Tax and Investment Center, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Committee on U.S.-China Relations.
Interview includes discussion of: first impressions of Senator Mitchell; the Budget Enforcement Act of 1990 negotiations, major players, and Mitchell’s role and its eventual passage; the reasoning behind going to Andrews Air Force Base budget summit; spending caps and PAYGO; “read my lips” and the 1992 presidential campaign; Mitchell’s personality and characteristics as a senator; Senators Baker and Dole in comparison to Mitchell; Tom Foley, Barber Conable, and Bob Michel as Frenzel’s role models in the House of Representatives; changes in relationships between congressional members, partisanship, and the effect on Congress; Frenzel’s decision to retire from the House; term limits; Frenzel’s hopes and fears in terms of the U.S. budget; the Reagan deficit; Gramm-Rudman Act; Republicans in Congress and President Clinton; GATT; free trade, NAFTA, and how some states’ concerns, like Maine’s, are involved; the filibuster; how Frenzel relates to other legislators like George Mitchell as a Republican to a Democrat; and the two parties in the U.S. today.
This recording and transcription are © 2011 Bowdoin College and are presented for private study, scholarship, or research only. For all other uses, including publication, reproduction, and quotation beyond “fair use” (Title 17, United States Code) permission must be obtained in writing from the George J. Mitchell Dept. of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, 3000 College Station, Brunswick, Maine 04011-8421, USA.