Alan Frumin

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Alan Frumin
Alan frumin.jpg
Parliamentarian of the United States Senate
In office
May 9, 2001 – February 2, 2012
Preceded by Robert B. Dove
Succeeded by Elizabeth MacDonough
In office
January 1987 – January 1995
Preceded by Robert B. Dove
Succeeded by Robert B. Dove
Personal details
Born Alan S. Frumin
(1946-12-26) December 26, 1946 (age 70)
New York, New York, U.S.
Spouse(s) Jill Meryl Brown
Residence Bethesda, Maryland
Alma mater Colgate University
Georgetown University
Profession Lawyer

Alan S. Frumin (/ˈfrmɪn/;[1] born December 26, 1946) is a former Parliamentarian of the United States Senate.


A 1968 graduate of Colgate University in Hamilton, New York and Georgetown University Law Center, Frumin's entire career has been spent giving non-partisan procedural advice in the United States Congress. He began his career in 1974 by participating in the editing of Deschler's Precedents of the House of Representatives (the official authoritative compilation of the precedents of the House) before joining the Senate Parliamentarian's office in 1977. He is the editor of Riddick's Senate Procedure, the official authoritative compilation of Senate precedents.[2]

He was promoted to the position of Chief Parliamentarian in 1987, when the Democratic party obtained a majority and control of the Senate, and the incumbent Parliamentarian, Robert Dove, was dismissed. In 1995, when the Republican party regained control of the Senate, Dove was reinstated as Parliamentarian, and Frumin was returned to his previous position as top assistant.[3] In 1997, while serving as the Senior Assistant Parliamentarian, the Senate honored Frumin by granting him the status of Parliamentarian Emeritus. In May 2001, Dove was again dismissed, this time by the Republican Majority Leader, Trent Lott of Mississippi, and Frumin was again promoted to Chief Parliamentarian, thus becoming the only person to become Chief Parliamentarian under both parties.[3][4][5] He was subsequently retained as Chief Parliamentarian at each successive change in party control of the Senate: in June 2001; January 2003; and January 2007. His 35 years and one-month tenure in the Senate Parliamentarian's Office is the longest such tenure in the history of that office, and his 18-year and 10 month service as Chief Parliamentarian is second only to the 29 and a half years served by Charles Watkins, the Senate's first Parliamentarian.

Frumin began receiving significant media coverage and notice in his usually quiet role during the 2010 healthcare reform debate for the critical role he plays in determining the validity of the reconciliation procedure being employed to apply changes desired by the House to portions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed by both houses.[6]

In November 2011, Frumin was included on The New Republic's list of Washington's most powerful, least famous people.[7]


Frumin was born December 26, 1946, to Harry H. and Nanette Frumin in New York, New York. He has one sister, Leslie. On February 15, 1981, he married Federal Trade Commission lawyer Jill Meryl (née Brown); they have one daughter, Allison.[2][8][9]


  1. ^ Video on YouTube
  2. ^ a b Lisa Friedman (2008) The Almanac of the Unelected 2008: Staff of the U.S. Congress. 405. Pennsylvania: Bernan Press. ISBN 1-59888-184-1
  3. ^ a b Newton-Small, Jay (March 3, 2010). "Health Reform's Reconciliation Ref". Time Magazine. 
  4. ^ Brian Faler (2009-08-12). "Alan Frumin May Rise From Obscurity to Craft Senate Health Bill". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2009-08-21. 
  5. ^ Rosenbaum, David E. (May 8, 2001). "Rules Keeper Is Dismissed By Senate, Official Says". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ Seattle Times news service (March 23, 2010). "Senate's rule referee out of obscurity, into spotlight Ref". Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 2011-06-22. 
  7. ^ The Editors (2011-11-03). "Washington's Most Powerful, Least Famous People". The New Republic. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  8. ^ "Jill Brown, Lawyer, Wed to Alan Frumin, a Senate Aide". New York Times. 1981-02-10. Retrieved 2009-08-20. 
  9. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths FRUMIN, HARRY H". New York Times. 2003-03-09. Retrieved 2009-08-21.