Paul Ryan Met With the Congressional Black Caucus — They Mostly Disagreed.

It’s their first meeting since Ryan’s “inner city” comments.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), House Budget Committee Chairman, speaks during the American Conservative Union Conference March 6, 2014 in National Harbor, Maryland. The annual conference is a meeting of politically conservatives Americans.
National Journal
Elahe Izad
Add to Briefcase
Elahe Izad
April 30, 2014, 12:52 p.m.

The Con­gres­sion­al Black Caucus got the meet­ing it wanted with House Budget Chair­man Paul Ry­an, who met with the bulk of the caucus Wed­nes­day in the wake of his “in­ner city” poverty com­ments.

CBC mem­bers had offered the in­vit­a­tion after voicing their of­fense to the com­ments Ry­an made last month on Bill Ben­nett’s in­flu­en­tial Morn­ing in Amer­ica ra­dio show. He spoke of a “tailspin of cul­ture, in our in­ner cit­ies in par­tic­u­lar, of men not work­ing, and just gen­er­a­tions of men not even think­ing about work­ing or learn­ing the value and the cul­ture of work.” One mem­ber called it a “thinly-veiled ra­cial at­tack.” Ry­an later said he was “in­ar­tic­u­late” in mak­ing those com­ments.

Ry­an thanked the CBC for in­vit­ing him to its meet­ing and called it the be­gin­ning of an on­go­ing con­ver­sa­tion about poverty. “We had an en­ga­ging and pro­duct­ive dis­cus­sion,” he said in a state­ment fol­low­ing the meet­ing.

“The first step to real re­form is a frank con­ver­sa­tion. We need to fig­ure out what works; we need to learn from people who are fight­ing poverty on the front lines,” Ry­an said. “And that con­ver­sa­tion must go both ways. Simply de­fend­ing the status quo or de­mand­ing more of the same is not an an­swer.”

Earli­er in the day, Ry­an held a hear­ing about the gov­ern­ment’s an­ti­poverty pro­grams. He’s also been trav­el­ing the coun­try on a “listen­ing tour” as part of his in­terest in de­vel­op­ing and pro­mot­ing con­ser­vat­ive solu­tions to poverty.

“We had a very re­spect­ful and cor­di­al con­ver­sa­tion,” CBC Chair­wo­man Mar­cia Fudge said. But they agreed on al­most noth­ing, policy-wise. Ry­an’s latest budget, op­posed by CBC mem­bers, trims the budget by more than $5 tril­lion in cuts, and in­cludes steep cuts to pro­grams like Medi­caid and food stamps.

“The only point of agree­ment that we really had is that we both be­lieve we have un­duly isol­ated the poor in this coun­try and we need to find some policies that cor­rect that situ­ation,” Fudge said.

The group mostly dis­cussed the ideo­lo­gic­al and policy dif­fer­ences they have on ap­proaches to poverty. Ry­an and the CBC mem­bers agreed to keep talk­ing, but it’s un­clear what format that con­ver­sa­tion will take.

Ry­an’s pri­or com­ments, which promp­ted the meet­ing in the first place, did come up Wed­nes­day, Fudge said.

“I be­lieve he phrased it in such a way that, some­times people say things and they think they’re say­ing it in a cer­tain way, and oth­er people are hear­ing it dif­fer­ently,” Fudge said. “It wasn’t ne­ces­sar­ily an apo­logy but more to say, ‘Yes I know that I may have mis­s­poke,’ or, ‘I may have been’ — in his words — ‘in­ar­tic­u­late.’”

What We're Following See More »
Bill Murray Crashes White House Briefing Room
6 hours ago

In town to receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center, Bill Murray casually strolled into the White House Briefing Room this afternoon. A spokesman said he was at the executive mansion for a chat with President Obama, his fellow Chicagoan.

CFPB Decision May Reverberate to Other Agencies
9 hours ago

"A federal appeals court's decision that declared the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau an arm of the White House relies on a novel interpretation of the constitution's separation of powers clause that could have broader effects on how other regulators" like the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Morning Consult Poll: Clinton Decisively Won Debate
10 hours ago

"According to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, the first national post-debate survey, 43 percent of registered voters said the Democratic candidate won, compared with 26 percent who opted for the Republican Party’s standard bearer. Her 6-point lead over Trump among likely voters is unchanged from our previous survey: Clinton still leads Trump 42 percent to 36 percent in the race for the White House, with Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson taking 9 percent of the vote."

Twitter Bots Dominated First Debate
11 hours ago

Twitter bots, "automated social media accounts that interact with other users," accounted for a large part of the online discussion during the first presidential debate. Bots made up 22 percent of conversation about Hillary Clinton on the social media platform, and a whopping one third of Twitter conversation about Donald Trump.

Center for Public Integrity to Spin Off Journalism Arm
11 hours ago

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the nonprofit that published the Panama Papers earlier this year, is being spun off from its parent organization, the Center for Public Integrity. According to a statement, "CPI’s Board of Directors has decided that enabling the ICIJ to chart its own course will help both journalistic teams build on the massive impact they have had as one organization."


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.