POLITICS
10/13/2011 04:23 pm ET | Updated Dec 13, 2011

Nancy Pelosi: 'Very Hard' To Explain Congressional Procedure To Occupy Wall Street Protesters

WASHINGTON -- Nancy Pelosi doesn't think Occupy Wall Street protesters who are frustrated with Democrats really understand Congress, but she insists she understands -- and sympathizes -- with them.

Many of the protests that have occurred around the nation have shown antipathy not just to Republicans, but to Democrats who they see as just another part of a broken system.

Asked about that at her weekly press conference, Pelosi suggested the Occupy movement doesn't really understand Congress, its procedural hurdles, or the extent to which the GOP is to blame for blocking Democrats.

"It's very hard to explain to the Wall Street protesters that you need 60 votes in the Senate and a simple majority is not enough -- [you need] a majority in the House and a majority in the Senate," she said Thursday. "And many of the jobs proposals that the president has put forth have been obstructed in the Senate.

Democrats currently control 53 seats in the Senate, giving them a simple majority but not a 60-vote supermajority. They do not control the House of Representatives.

"[Republicans] were very clear in the Senate that the president's failure was their success," she said, referring to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's vow last year to make President Obama a one-termer.

Still, Pelosi said she agrees with the broader discontent the protesters feel, and their criticism of the overall system.

"Let's just take this to a larger place -- 99 percent they're talking about," said Pelosi, ranks among the top 1 percent of Americans in terms of personal wealth. "I think it's probably about 99.5 percent of the American people feel that the system is not fair, that people don't have a fair chance, that obstacles are put up for them if they work hard and play by the rules, there are obstacles to their achieving success.

"So, yes, I think any criticism of the status quo and the establishment is justified," Pelosi said. "I commend them for being outspoken. They have a varied agenda, but the message is clear: The status quo is unacceptable and unsustainable for our keeping a strong middle class, which is essential to our democracy."

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