Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) on Wednesday rejected the idea that Democratic control and Democratic policies in Baltimore are to blame for the death of Freddie Gray after he was seriously injured in police custody, and for the subsequent rioting in the city, instead trying to shift the blame onto Republicans.
Cummings was on CNN Wednesday, when host Chris Cuomo challenged him by saying blame should be laid at the feet of Democrats, who have controlled Baltimore for decades.
"Baltimore has been run by Democrats, and recently African-American Democrats, for a really long time," Cuomo said. "It's not really about Republicans. I mean, the Democrats, you've had your people in there, Congressman Cummings. You guys are as responsible for what has and hasn't been done as anybody else, isn't that fair?"
"Chris, come on Chris," Cummings replied. "You know it's not about personalities, it's about policy."
Cummings then blamed policies and budget cuts from the state government and from Congress.
"You know and I know that a lot of the policies coming from Washington, coming down from the state actually too, but [policies] coming from Washington are not necessarily kind to urban areas," he said. "I mean, you keep in mind that Freddie Gray had a serious problem with lead poisoning, and we just found out that that budget has been cut 33 percent."
"The new neighborhoods budget figure has been cut some 70 percent," he added. "So, come on. But not only that, as I said, you've got to have money to do a lot of these things."
Cummings' remarks are similar to those made by other Democrats, such as Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Reid said last month that it's up to Congress to create jobs to stop the rioting, and that Congress could do so by passing some kind of jobs bill.
"We need to do more," Reid said. "It is up to us in this Capitol to create these jobs."
Reid's comments were widely seen as a call for more federal spending, but House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said that what's really needed is an assessment of which federal programs are failing and plans to fix them.
"Our government spends hundreds of billions of dollars a year on well-intentioned programs designed to help people to get out of poverty," Boehner said. "We've been doing this for decades."
"But from what we've seen around the country, it's clear that this approach is not working," he added.