- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 1, 2014

Rep. Paul Ryan met with the Congressional Black Caucus on Wednesday to try and mend ties after he was criticized for making controversial statements about inner-city men.

Black lawmakers railed against the Wisconsin Republican after he said during a March interview that there is 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 to value the culture of work.”

Rep. Marcia Fudge at the time called the remarks “highly offensive,” and Rep. Barbara Lee branded them a “thinly veiled racial attack,” Reutersreported. Others called it dog-whistle racism.

The controversy prompted Mr. Ryan to meet with CBC members this week to try and keep an open dialogue about poverty.

“We didn’t get a whole lot accomplished, but we do agree on a number of things,” Miss Fudge, an Ohio Democrat who chairs the caucus, told Reuters. “One is that we are both concerned about the poverty in this country. We just disagree on how we address the problem.”

Mr. Ryan and caucus members said after the meeting that they intended to continue talking on the subject.

“What is good out of this is we need to talk about better ideas on getting at the root cause of poverty, to try and break the cycle of poverty,” Mr. Ryan said. “The status quo doesn’t work. We can do better.”

Some members said they remained skeptical because of cuts in Mr. Ryan’s budget plan.

“I think Ryan is sincere. I don’t know that he’s serious about addressing the issue,” said Rep. James Rayburn. “If he stands by his [budget] resolution, then he cannot be serious about the discussion we had today.”

Mr. Ryan agreed to study a Congressional Black Caucus proposal known as “10-20-30,” which would concentrate 10 percent of funding from certain domestic programs into 474 counties — urban and rural — where 20 percent of the population has lived in poverty for 30 years, Reuters reported.