Chairman of the Africa and Global Health Subcommittee on the Committee of Foreign Affairs
A past Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, he is a member of the Democratic Whip Organization and has served as a member of the House Democratic Leadership Advisory Group. He formerly served on the Democratic Steering Committee.
Through his efforts in Washington, several million dollars for economic development and other key programs have been allocated to Essex, Hudson and Union Counties in his Congressional District.
In 2003, President Bush appointed Payne as one of two members of Congress to serve as a Congressional delegate to the United Nations and reappointed him in 2005. In this role, he has met with the U.N. Secretary General, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. and regularly attended sessions of the U.N. General Assembly and other high level meetings.
He is a member of the House Committe on Education and Labor where he serves on two subcommittees - the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections and the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, which has jurisdiction over the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act. As a leading advocate of education, he has been instrumental in the passage of key legislation, including the Goals 2000 initiative to improve elementary and secondary schools; the School-to-Work Opportunities Act; the National Service Act, establishment of the National Literacy Institute; and funding for Head Start, Pell Grants, Summer Jobs and Student Loans.
He is also a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, where he serves as Chairman of the Subcommitte on Africa and Global Health and as a member of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemiphere and the Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight. Congressman Payne has been at the forefront of efforts to restore democracy and human rights in nations throughout the globe. He was one of five members of Congress chosen to accompany President Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton on their historic six-nation tour of Africa. He also headed a Presidential mission to war-torn Rwanda to help find solutions to that country's political and humanitarian crises. In addition, he was recognized as having the most supportive record in Congress on issues involving the Northern Ireland peace process.
Congressman Payne along with his colleagues on the International Relations Committee introduced a measure which was subsequently approved by Congress to strengthen the Microenterprise Act, providing small business loans to people in developing nations. The law contains language that directs at least half of the loans towards the poorest people - those who subsist on less than $1 a day. He was successful in winning passage of a resolution declaring genocide in Darfur, Sudan. The measure was the culmination of more than two years' work by many churches, religious organizations, anti-slavery groups, and resettled Sudanese through broad grass-roots support. His involvement in Africa led him to meet with Darfur refugees at the camps in Chad, where he heard many of their stories first-hand. Congressman Payne also gained national recognition when he was selected to manage the debate on the floor of the House of Representatives in opposition to the use of force in Iraq before fully exploring a diplomatic solution.