Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 10, 2016

Paul Ryan Meets With Congressional Black Caucus After Poverty Comments

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus reported mixed reactions Wednesday to their meeting with Rep. Paul D. Ryan over comments the Wisconsin Republican made regarding poverty in inner cities that some in the CBC considered “highly offensive.”

CBC Chairwoman Marcia L. Fudge, D-Ohio, told reporters after the meeting that the two sides reached a consensus that poverty affects all communities across the country.

“Clearly there was some concern about comments that had been made about the culture in which we find this poverty,” said Fudge.  “But we have agreed today that it is across the board.  There is no particular place or people who experience poverty at a different rate than others.”

Ryan also told reporters that the meeting was part of an effort to expand the debate surrounding poverty. “I think what we’re trying to accomplish here is improving the tone of debate,” said Ryan, “so that more people are invited to this debate so that we do a better job of actually getting control of our problems with poverty.”

Fudge invited Ryan to meet with her caucus in March and said that the representatives had “a very cordial, respectful conversation.”

Fudge later said Ryan did not necessarily apologize for his comments, but reiterated that his phrasing was “inarticulate.”  Fudge added, “But his policies belie that and basically say that he believes what he said.  He may not just have wanted to have said it in that way.”

Rep. Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y., said the meeting left much to be desired. “I don’t think any of us were satisfied because he implied that we just will be exploring and establishing a dialogue,” said Rangel.

Rangel clarified that an open dialogue was a positive development, but he said he hopes the two sides can agree to a substantive policy that addresses poverty.

The New York Democrat said he will look to “see whether we can deal with something a little more constructive toward reaching a solution that could be adopted by a majority — Democrats and Republicans in the House.”

A bipartisan solution to combat poverty faces an steep uphill battle.  The question of how to address poverty strikes at the core of the division between the parties.

Ryan said one takeaway from the meeting was learning about the CBC’s 10-20-30 plan.  Ryan’s fellow Wisconsinite, Rep. Gwen Moore, a Democrat, said the plan is a potential point of agreement between Democrats and Republicans.  The plan directs 10 percent of a program’s resources to areas where 20 percent or more of the population have lived below the poverty line for the past 30 years.

“If, in fact, his criticism was that some of these programs are ineffective, we would probably agree that it is really important to target things like job training,” Moore said.

So, the conversation between the CBC and Ryan will continue.  As a result of the meeting, Ryan agreed to hold a hearing with the Budget Committee where the CBC can air their grievances with the budget plan and present its own solutions to combat poverty.

Related stories:

Black Caucus Open to Working With ‘Nice Guy’ Ryan

  • Bob Viering

    I applaud both Ryan and the CBC for at least meeting. I hope they can continue and find some common ground. Any bipartisan effort, no matter how small, is a start to better relations and congress actually accomplishing something.

    • Jack Everett

      Nothing was accomplished with lyin Ryan.

  • Aces High

    it certainly would help if he would show support to pass the unemployment bill for millions of American familys that have lost their jobs by no fault of their own….Cmon Mr Ryan!!! you want votes??? show americans you can have the “sand” to stand up to John Boehner & pass the bill in the house already..enough playin around.

  • Disgruntled2012

    I wonder if he tried to explain how immigration “reform” a.k.a. amnesty will somehow HELP black American citizens? I’d love to hear that discussion… I could use a laugh.

    • Layla

      Funny, but I don’t think the black community, or any other, are laughing at this.

  • wdb

    “There is no particular place or people who experience poverty at a different rate than others.”

    You have got to be kidding me.

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  • Jack Everett

    This nonsense meeting with lyin Ryan did not allow anyone supporting minority poverty to speak. As usual it was just another sugar job of lies by Ryan. Lets see how Ryan thinks about making 14 million illegal criminals citizens and say it will be a step towards ending poverty and unemployment.

  • Layla

    Mr. Ryan, I wonder if you have any plans to meet with America’s military and retired after cutting their pay and retirement? I am also wondering if you have any plans to cut your own pay and retirement?

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    Whether it’s murdering the unborn or attempting to deny care to the born, like Sarah Murnaghan, today’s liberalism is basically a death cult.

  • Murph Johnston

    Bolshevik ideologue and Hussein Obama mentor Williams Ayers hasn’t apologized for a single one of the domestic terrorist attacks he perpetrated.

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