Chairman of the U.S. House Budget Committee Rep. Paul Ryan said Wednesday he had a productive meeting with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, a gathering that came weeks after comments the Wisconsin Republican made about poverty and inner cities stirred allegations of racism from some members of the caucus.
In March on a radio talk show hosted by former Department of Education Secretary William Bennett, Ryan cited poverty was a result of a culture of lazy inner city men. “We have got this 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 said.
South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn said the CBC expressed to Congressman Ryan that financial help is needed in areas of abject poverty.
“I asked him would he join with us in the Congressional Black Caucus and target resources throughout the discretionary budget into those communities so that at least 10 percent of that money will go to these communities.”
Clyburn pointed out that there are 488 counties in the U.S. where 20 percent or more of the population has been stuck below the poverty level for 30 or more years.
While the Caucus is overwhelmingly made up of democrats, Clyburn said he pointed out to Ryan that there is nothing partisan about helping people in these areas of need.
“I reminded him that this is not partisan. Fully 68 percent of those counties are represented by republicans. We are not asking him to do anything for democrats, we’re talking about doing it for poor people.”