By Jessica Desvarieux
Oct 11, 2011
House Democratic Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she supports the growing nationwide Occupy Wall Street movement, which began on the streets of downtown New York City in mid-September.
"I support the message to the establishment, whether it's Wall Street or the political establishment and the rest, that change has to happen," said Pelosi in an exclusive interview with ABC News "This Week" anchor Christiane Amanpour. "We cannot continue in a way this is not relevant to their lives."
Pelosi sees the protestors' anger stemming from unemployment, which remains above 9 percent.
Pelosi added that the failure of TARP, commonly known as the bank bailout, to add liquidity to the Main Street marketplace is fueling Americans' animosity towards Wall Street.
"The thought was that when we did that [pass TARP], there would be capital available and Main Street would benefit from the resources that went largely to Wall Street," said Pelosi. "That didn't happen. People are angry."
President Obama is hoping to remedy the struggling economy with his proposed $447 billion American Jobs Bill, which is a combination of tax breaks and spending on infrastructure. Obama has touted the bill as the country's insurance policy against a double-dip recession.
"We've needed jobs for awhile," Pelosi added. "What he [the president] is proposing is job creating. And it's really important for him to explain what this is about, or at least keep saying it over and over."
The proposed American Jobs Bill is still awaiting a vote on the Senate floor on Tuesday. Pelosi said she thinks that the bill will get the majority of Senate Democrats' support. But with a few Democrats still on the fence and significant Republican opposition, it's anticipated that the bill will not pass.
"Whether one or two members, Democrats, vote for it or not, we'll see," said Pelosi. "But they have to be allowed to bring the bill up. And the obstruction is not from the Democrats, it's from the Republicans."
The gridlock on Capitol Hill has the vast majority of Americans dissatisfied with Congress. Only 14 percent of Americans approve of Congress' performance, according to the latest Washington Post/ABC news poll released last Wednesday.
Pelosi said she includes herself in the group of Americans dissatisfied with Congress.
"Count me among those ... who object to the way Congress is conducting itself," said Pelosi. "We have a responsibility to try to find common ground."
At times, such common ground can seem to be a long shot. Last Wednesday, Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., called the Occupy Wall Street protest a "growing mob."
Pelosi lashed back at Cantor, saying that American democracy allows for public expression.
"How they characterize someone who may disagree with them, that says more about them," said Pelosi.