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MSNBC - Frank Says Tea Party Endangers Compromise on Deficit Reduction

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By NBC's Lauren Stephenson

Though congressional members taking part in today's ongoing deficit-reduction talks with Vice President Joe Biden said they are increasingly optimistic that compromise can be reached, the ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee says the influence of the Tea Party is endangering the chance for a deal.

Congressman Barney Frank, in an interview with Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC, said Tea Party favorite Michele Bachmann -- a frequent critic of his -- is a "dominant figure in the House of Representatives."

Frank continued, "I think half of the Republicans in the House agree with her. The other half are afraid of losing the primary to somebody who agrees with her."

Bachmann has said she will not vote to raise the debt limit any under circumstance.

Congressman Frank said on "Andrea Mitchell Reports" that Bachmann's "no" vote and her influence over other members of the House makes him concerned a compromise will not be reached.

"A deep unrealism has set in... People [like Bachmann] do not understand the damage this could do to the economy."

The Massachusetts congressman said other members of Congress share the "view that you can cut Social Security and Medicare and domestic programs, do nothing about taxing the very wealthy and most importantly do nothing about the military. These are people who want to stay in Iraq."

According to Frank, the military budget has been a non-negotiable subject for "very conservative Republicans."

"Some of us tried to make some reasonable reductions in the military budget and they rejected that."

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