Minnesota's Bill Frenzel, former U.S. congressman, dies at 86

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 18, 2014 12:12 AM

(Reuters) - Bill Frenzel, who served 20 years in the U.S. House of Representatives before becoming a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution, has died aged 86, the organization said in a statement on Monday.

Frenzel, a Minnesota native, died peacefully at his home in McLean, Virginia, with his family by his side on Monday morning, according to the Brookings Institution and the Economic Club of Minnesota, which he co-founded.

During his time in Congress, representing areas outside of Minneapolis, Frenzel served as the ranking minority member on the House Budget Committee and was a leading voice for his fellow Republicans, Brookings said.

He retired from the House in 1991 and became a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution that year.

Two years later, Frenzel was chosen as a special adviser to President Bill Clinton and was a key player in the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the institution said.

Later, President George W. Bush appointed him to several different committees focusing on topics like social security, trade policy and tax reforms. Earlier this year, President Barack Obama re-appointed him to the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.

Mexico awarded Frenzel the Order of the Aztec Eagle, the nation's most distinguished award for foreigners, for his efforts on trade, the institution said.

"Minnesota and America lost a great statesman today," Republican Representative Erik Paulsen, who represents Frenzel's former district, said in a statement.

"Bill was widely regarded as somebody with a willingness to bridge divides in Washington and work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle," he said.

Frenzel is survived by his wife of 63 years, Ruthy, three daughters and two grandchildren.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Edited by Paul Tait)