Rep. Donald Payne, the New Jersey Democrat known for championing foreign aid for developing countries, died Tuesday at age 77 from colon cancer.
Rules Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.), who last November traveled with Payne to Egypt to witness its first parliamentary elections, cited his “encyclopedic knowledge” on foreign affairs.
Members also recalled how Payne championed disadvantaged communities at home, too, particularly from his perch on the Education and Workforce Committee.
“Working people across the country could always count on Donald to stand up for them when it came to their health, safety and fair treatment on the job,” ranking member George Miller (D-Calif.) said. “He was a tireless advocate for all children … giving [them] a better chance at a brighter future.”
Some Members also lost a close friend Tuesday.
“I saw him on Saturday for the last time, and I can’t think of anybody who in this House has been closer to me and someone who made it so much better for us to be in Congress,” said Rep. Frank Pallone (D), another member of the New Jersey delegation, on the House floor. “I will sorely miss him. I don’t think there will be anybody that can replace him.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.