Democratic Rep. Speier: ‘Occupy Wall Street’ is ‘Taking a Page from the Arab Spring’

Oct 4, 2011 1:10pm

The “Occupy Wall Street” events springing up in cities nationwide is being embraced by some leading Democrats, who see the gatherings as a grass-roots response to corporate greed.

On ABC’s “Top Line” today, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., likened the protests to the demonstrations that roiled the Arab world – and even helped topple some governments – earlier this year.

“We’re taking a page from the Arab Spring in some respects. I think all Americans are deeply disturbed that Wall Street got off with not one accusation, not one person going to jail,” Speier told us.

“Nothing has happened so far. And I think people are deeply disturbed, and we all have to remember that we’re in this mess today because Wall Street got greedy. Because credit default swaps became the rage, because no one had any skin in the game, and so you were just churning and churning and churning and churning,” she added.

“I think that they have lost their moral compass, and I think that’s what you’re hearing from the people who are just coming together in disgust, in fear, in anger.”

Speier said she will seek to press her colleagues to find a way for Congress to require banks to allow individuals who have been foreclosed on to stay in their homes.

“I think that what we can do is basically say, if you banks want to continue to get money from the Fed at next-to-nothing in interest rates, then in order to do that, you’re gonna have to service these foreclosed homes in a way that would allow these people to stay in their homes and rework and modify those loans so they can stay in their homes and continue to move on with their lives. Foreclosing homes is not good for the community, it is not good for the home owners obviously, and it’s just not good for America.”

Speier also applauded President Obama for pushing for a comprehensive jobs package, while acknowledging that it has no realistic chance of passing the GOP-controlled House of Representatives.

“We don’t control the majority, that’s pretty obvious, and so whatever our agenda is is not going to be the top of the Republicans’ agenda,” she said.

She said she expects pieces of the package – including the closing of tax loopholes, and infrastructure investments – to be broken off and passed piecemeal.

“I think at some point that’s what will happen. There will be pieces that will come together, but it’s gotta be a package that makes it for Americans,” she said.

Also today, we checked in ABC News pollster Gary Langer about the impact of Gov. Chris Christie’s decision to still stay out of the 2012 presidential race. The new ABC News/Washington Post poll demonstrated how difficult a Christie run would have been, he said.

“I think we’re all set for Northeastern governors,” Langer told us. “There’s a vacuum in the race for the Republican nomination for president, but it’s not in the Chris Christie wing, if you will, of the party. it is in the hard-conservative wing of the party.”

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