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Paul Ryan to Meet with Congressional Black Caucus

U.S. Representative Paul Ryan

Republican U.S. Representative Paul Ryan agreed to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus after members of the group branded his remarks about inner-city poverty this week “highly offensive”.

The controversy began after Ryan said on William Bennett’s talk radio show, “Morning in America,” that there was 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 of work.”

Representative Barbara Lee of California, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, called Ryan’s remarks a “thinly veiled racial attack.”

“Let’s be clear, when Mr. Ryan says ‘inner city,’ when he says, ‘culture,’ these are simply code words for what he really means: ‘black’,” Lee said in a statement.

Ryan, the 2012 Republican vice presidential candidate, is known for budgets with proposed deep cuts to programs that help the poor. The potential 2016 presidential contender has made a point of proposing Republican solutions to ease poverty that focus on the private sector.

The Wisconsin lawmaker, who chairs the House Budget Committee, said in a statement that he “was inarticulate” about the point he was trying to make.

“I was not implicating the culture of one community, but of society as a whole,” Ryan said. “We have allowed our society to isolate or quarantine the poor rather than integrate people into our communities. The predictable result has been multi-generational poverty and little opportunity.”

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