Paul Ryan Agrees to Meet with Congressional Black Caucus After ‘Inner-City’ Remarks

Caucus members say they were “deeply troubled” by what the lawmaker said.

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
National Journal
Elahe Izad
Add to Briefcase
Elahe Izad
March 14, 2014, 7:36 a.m.

Re­pub­lic­an Budget Com­mit­tee Chair­man Paul Ry­an, whose re­marks about in­ner-city poverty were de­scribed by an­oth­er mem­ber of Con­gress as a “thinly veiled ra­cial at­tack,” has ac­cep­ted the in­vit­a­tion of the Con­gres­sion­al Black Caucus to dis­cuss poverty.

CBC Chair­wo­man Mar­cia Fudge and Rep. Gwen Moore sent a let­ter to Ry­an, say­ing they were “deeply troubled” and of­fen­ded by his re­marks on Bill Ben­nett’s in­flu­en­tial Morn­ing in Amer­ica ra­dio show Wed­nes­day about 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.”

Ry­an has since said that he was “in­ar­tic­u­late” in mak­ing those com­ments. “I was not im­plic­at­ing the cul­ture of one com­munity — but of so­ci­ety as a whole. We have al­lowed our so­ci­ety to isol­ate or quar­ant­ine the poor rather than in­teg­rate people in our com­munit­ies.”

Fudge and Moore pushed back against the idea that isol­a­tion is the main cul­prit be­hind poverty, say­ing that the prob­lem is in­stead a lack of re­sources. They in­vited Ry­an to one of the CBC’s weekly meet­ings “to dis­cuss our per­spect­ives on poverty in search of find­ing con­struct­ive com­mon ground.”

A spokes­man said Ry­an ap­pre­ci­ated the in­vit­a­tion. “He has said he would wel­come a pro­duct­ive con­ver­sa­tion on how to bet­ter fight poverty, and he looks for­ward to meet­ing with the CBC in the near fu­ture,” the spokes­man said.

Ry­an has been no­tice­ably fo­cused on poverty lately. He em­barked on a listen­ing tour of strug­gling neigh­bor­hoods in re­cent months and re­leased a re­port last week look­ing back on the War on Poverty. The chair­man also plans to pro­pose changes, through a new budget, to fed­er­al pro­grams in­ten­ded to help the poor.

What We're Following See More »
Trump Deposition Video Is Online
6 hours ago

The video of Donald Trump's deposition in his case against restaurateur Jeffrey Zakarian is now live. Slate's Jim Newell and Josh Voorhees are live-blogging it while they watch.

Debate Commission Admits Issues with Trump’s Mic
7 hours ago

The Commission on Presidential Debates put out a statement today that gives credence to Donald Trump's claims that he had a bad microphone on Monday night. "Regarding the first debate, there were issues regarding Donald Trump's audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall," read the statement in its entirety.

Trump Deposition Video to Be Released
7 hours ago

"A video of Donald Trump testifying under oath about his provocative rhetoric about Mexicans and other Latinos is set to go public" as soon as today. "Trump gave the testimony in June at a law office in Washington in connection with one of two lawsuits he filed last year after prominent chefs reacted to the controversy over his remarks by pulling out of plans to open restaurants at his new D.C. hotel. D.C. Superior Court Judge Brian Holeman said in an order issued Thursday evening that fears the testimony might show up in campaign commercials were no basis to keep the public from seeing the video."

Chicago Tribune Endorses Gary Johnson
10 hours ago

No matter that his recall of foreign leaders leaves something to be desired, Gary Johnson is the choice of the Chicago Tribune's editorial board. The editors argue that Donald Trump couldn't do the job of president, while hitting Hillary Clinton for "her intent to greatly increase federal spending and taxation, and serious questions about honesty and trust." Which leaves them with Johnson. "Every American who casts a vote for him is standing for principles," they write, "and can be proud of that vote. Yes, proud of a candidate in 2016."

Obama Compares Peres to ‘Giants of the 20th Century’
11 hours ago

Speaking at the funeral of former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, President Obama "compared Peres to 'other giants of the 20th century' such as Nelson Mandela and Queen Elizabeth who 'find no need to posture or traffic in what's popular in the moment.'" Among the 6,000 mourners at the service was Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Obama called Abbas's presence a sign of the "unfinished business of peace" in the region.