A dogged group of protesters occupied Dyker Heights on Friday, picketing outside Rep. Michael Grimm’s 13th Avenue district office between 74th and 75th streets on Friday in an attempt to get on of two Republican congress members in Brooklyn to back a jobs bill that has stalled in the senate.
Seven people called on Grimm to push for a vote on the American Jobs Act — President Obama’s bill that so far has languished amid partisan bickering.
“We deserve at least an up or down vote,” said Jamie Kemmerer, Brooklyn council organizer for MoveOn, the group that organized the protest — and has picketed Grimm’s office once a month for the last few months. “A lot of the ideas [in this bill] come from Republican ideals. This isn’t a left-of-center bill.”
Republican leaders in the house have said they won’t bring the bill up for a vote.
The protest came amid the month-long Occupy Wall Street protest against Wall Street corruption and greed that has grown into a global phenomenon, and recently touched down in Brooklyn.
The bill would extend stimulus measures that otherwise would expire this year, and provide $35 billion to local governments as well as $100 billion in infrastructure improvement programs and tax credits.
But Grimm said the protesters were barking up the wrong tree.
“They’re holding this rally in the wrong place. They should be rallying outside Senator [Harry] Reid’s office — since he’s the one who can’t pass President Obama’s bill through his own Democratic-led Senate,” he said, in reference to the Nevada Democrat.
Grimm said he backed some of the items in the bill, but couldn’t back it as a package.
“I believe that there are pieces of the jobs bill on which we can find common ground, and we should move forward on those, rather than try to push the full package that clearly lacks the support to pass,” he said.