Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., defended the Occupy Wall Street protest movement Monday on MSNBC’s Daily Rundown.
“This is not some fringe element, this is a cross section of America concerned about issues, with very common-sense opinions,” said Grijalva, the co-chair of the Progressive Caucus.
Grijalva drew his conclusions after speaking with protesters occupying a Tucson park, he said.
The Occupy Wall Street protests have spread rapidly across the country and the globe. Coordinated protests worldwide on Saturday led to arrests in New York and Chicago and violent outbursts in Rome.
“I think what is going on across this nation is necessary," Grijalva said of the domestic protests. "It is peaceful. And it is a counterpoint to the lack of discussion about fairness in this country, and certainly in our economic policy.”
Aside from protesting economic inequality, the occupiers have so far failed to cohere around a specific list of policy prescriptions. Grijalva said it is “presumptuous” to criticize protesters for their lack of specificity when Congress has also failed to find policy solutions to the protesters' concerns.
“Drawing the contrast with what's going on and insisting on fairness -- to me, that's enough right now for us to pay attention,” Grijalva said.
Grijalva also touched on Progressive Caucus recommendations for the deficit reduction super committee, which include letting the Bush tax cuts expire on schedule, pushing immediate job creation, and protecting entitlements.