Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he understood the "frustrations" behind the Occupy Wall Street movement Monday in a speech at the University of Louisville.
"I understand people's frustrations," he said, according to Politico. "The economy is not producing jobs like they want and there's lot of erosion of confidence in our government and frankly, under the First Amendment, people have the right to speak out ... but that doesn't mean they have the permission to violate the law." Protesters have occupied Zuccotti Park in Manhattan for about six weeks, inspiring other protests across the country.
About 40 people protested Boehner's golf game in Newport Beach, Calif., earlier this month. In response, his communications director said that the speaker appreciated the concerns of all Americans and wanted to find "common ground" where both parties could come together to create jobs.
Occupy Chattanooga members also recently protested Boehner's appearance at a fundraiser for Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.).
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said in early October that he was "increasingly concerned about the growing mobs occupying Wall Street." He later acknowledged the "growing frustration" in the country, while not disavowing his earlier comments in an interview with Fox News.
President Barack Obama also recently said that he understands the "frustrations" behind the Occupy Wall Street protests.
Boehner added in his speech Monday that he hoped that the demonstrations would "continue to be peaceful."