Gramm, Phil (William Philip Gramm), 1942–, American politician, b. Fort Benning, Ga. A Univ. of Georgia Ph.D. in economics and former professor, he served as a Democratic member of the House of Representatives from Texas from 1979 until 1983, when he joined the Republican party and won a special election to reclaim his seat. Gramm served in the U.S. Senate from 1985 to 2002, where he chaired (1999–2001) the banking, housing, and urban affairs committee. In the Senate he won a reputation for toughly tenacious, plainspoken leadership and staked out a strong position on his party's right wing. A fiscal conservative, he was a coauthor of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act in the 1980s and later supported a consitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget. Gramm made an unsuccessful bid for the 1996 Republican presidential nomination.