Picture of Rep.

Representative Donald Payne

Democrat of New Jersey District 10

Liberal Action Score: 60/100
Conservative Action Score: 2/100

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These Liberal and Conservative Ratings for the House of Representatives are frequently updated as new bills are introduced, members of the House cosponsor existing bills, and new roll call votes are held. Our most recent update: September 13, 2012.
That's My Congress: independent information on legislators, legislation and congressional campaigns for the 112th Congress

Democratic Representative Donald Payne of New Jersey

Rep. Payne's Liberal Action Score: 60
The Liberal Action Score is calculated by compiling a series of measured liberal actions (both roll call voting and bill cosponsorship) in the 112th Congress and comparing Donald Payne's behavior against a liberal standard:
  • Respect for constitutional protections of American civil liberty
  • Transparency and public access in government
  • Equal treatment of people under law
  • The respect and pursuit of empirical knowledge through support for science and education
  • Protection of the Earth's environmental richness
  • Strengthening of economic opportunity for all
  • Pursuit of peaceful solutions and opposition to militarism in policy
A score of 60 means that Representative Payne has participated in 60% of our slate of liberal actions in the 112th Congress.

Liberal Actions Taken by Congressman Payne during the 112th Congress of 2011-2012:

H.R. 555

There’s no better investment in our society than an investment in the education of a young child. Children who get early schooling do better later on, both educationally and professional, strengthening our nation’s economic productivity. Parents benefit too, able to work more, making contributions of their own to society, and reducing their dependence on social programs.

If parents have to pay for preschool that’s as expensive as their income, early education becomes a very difficult choice. H.R. 555, introduced this week by Dennis Kucinich, seeks to fill in that gap by supporting state governments in their efforts to provide universally affordable but not mandatory year-round pre-K school.

Rep. Payne has taken a liberal course of action by cosponsoring this bill.




H.R. 514

On February 14 2011, Speaker of the House John Boehner brought H.R. 514 to the floor for a vote after mere minutes of debate, despite a lack of any committee consideration and without any provision for amendment. This bill reauthorizes provisions of the Patriot Act, a law that allows agents of the U.S. government to spy on, search and seize the property, papers and communications of individuals without a constitutionally-guaranteed finding of probable cause for that action.

Rep. Payne has taken a liberal course of action by voting against this bill.


H. Amdt 16 to H.R. 1

It's hard to think of a better example of military waste: Spending billions of dollars for two separate manufacturing systems in two separate companies to make two versions of an engine, with identical performance, for the same airplane – the F-35, an airplane that only requires one engine in the first place. Yet that's just what Congress has favored for years, because a second engine aids well-placed corporations in powerful members' districts and because some members of Congress are unwilling to vote any military project down. In February of 2011, Representative Tom Rooney of Florida followed the example of Chellie Pingree in the 111th Congress by introducing an amendment cutting funding for the second redundant F-35 engine. A yes vote on the Rooney Amendment is a vote to cut military pork spending. A no vote is a vote to preserve pork.

Rep. Payne has taken a liberal course of action by voting for this bill.


H.R. 572

As it is currently written, the Federal Motor Carrier Act does not allow states and municipalities to establish environmental safeguards for ports that are more stringent than the federal standard. H.R. 572, the Clean Ports Act, removes this impediment so communities can add environmental protections for the ports whose cleanliness and integrity they rely upon.

Rep. Payne has taken a liberal course of action by cosponsoring this bill.


H.R. 471

In a roll-call vote in 2010, the U.S. Senate ended the federally-mandated voucher program for Washington DC called the “DC Opportunity Scholarships.” In this voucher program, public money was taken away from of public schools and given to private schools — 82% of which were religious schools in 2009. Studies by the Institute for Education Sciences found no difference in math or reading scores between voucher students and public school students in 2007 and no difference in math or reading scores between the groups in 2008. In 2009, there was no difference in math scores at all between voucher students and public school students, and while there was a positive difference in reading scores for voucher students, the positive difference was only for voucher students who hadn’t come from underperforming schools. There was no difference between students coming from underperforming public schools and those who stayed there. There was also no improvement shown by underperforming students who used the program. In short, there were no effects of the program at all in two out of three years, and improvement was shown in only one year, in only one subject area, and only for already well-performing kids coming from already well-performing schools. Apart from the fact that the DC voucher program didn’t accomplish its stated purpose of rescuing underperforming kids from underperforming public schools, it also used public money to send 82% of these kids to schools where they were made the target of religious indoctrination and proselytization. Many of those schools were run by the DC division of the Catholic Church, which mandates that no one may be hired who would “violate the principles or tenets” of the Catholic Church. That’s hiring discrimination on the taxpayer’s tab. Using federal taxpayers' money to support religious schools that indoctrinate children according to a particular parochial religion, that engage in hiring discrimination on the basis of religion, and that don't do any better at educating kids than the DC public schools? Who would ever think that's a good idea? The members of Congress who voted for H.R. 471, that's who. On March 30, the House voted to reinstate the old taxpayer-money-for-broken-religious-indoctrination-schools experiment in Washington, DC.

Rep. Payne has taken a liberal course of action by voting against this bill.


Rooney Amendment 13 to H.R. 1

Thanks to sewage and runoff from runaway suburban development, overuse of fertilizers in agricultural production and uncontrolled fecal contamination from livestock, Florida's lakes, rivers, springs and wetlands have abnormally high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus compounds in them. The presence of these pollutants has serious consequences. Algal blooms feed on these substances, adding neurotoxic chemicals to water as they grow and taking so much oxygen out of the water that all aquatic animals are killed off in entire regions. To disinfect sewage and algae-infested waters, more chemicals are added to the water, and some of those have been associated with cancer in humans.

After conducting exhaustive scientific and economic studies to establish the existence of significant nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in Florida's waterways, and after holding over a dozen public hearings in Florida on the subject, the Environmental Protection Agency entered an agreement with the Florida Wildlife Federation to set limits for nitrogen and phosphorus in Florida's waters. These standards would bring the pollution that is killing wildlife and people under control.

To a majority in Congress, keeping the nitrogen and phosphorus flowing into Florida's waters toxic is more important than saving lives. A legislative amendment was introduced by Rep. Thomas Rooney in the House of Representatives in February 2011; it blocks the federal government from implementing the EPA's standards for Florida waters. This majority voted to pass the Rooney Amendment.

Rep. Payne has taken a liberal course of action by voting against this bill.




Gutierrez Amendment to H.R. 1

On February 15 2011, Rep. Luis Gutierrez offered an amendment to H.R. 1 in the House of Representatives. H.Amdt 13 would have reduced the Navy and Air Force aircraft procurement budgets by $415,083,000 and moved that money into the Defense Department's spending reduction account. Here's a place for cuts to a huge military program: the Pentagon itself agrees that its aircraft procurement budget is bloated. In particular, Gutierrez's amendment would have finally scrapped the long, drawn-out production of the V-22 Osprey, an airplane/helicopter hybrid that might look really cool as a transformer-like model on your kid's bookshelf but that costs a whopping $120 million per plane and has never met its production standards in deployment. Besides, it has frequently killed the people it is carrying. And yet Congress continues to vote it forward because production is distributed strategically across a number of members' districts, and because few members of Congress are brave enough to go on the record voting down any program that has the words "United States military" stamped on it.

Rep. Payne has taken a liberal course of action by voting for this bill.


H.Amdt. 109

As Congressman Ron Kind described this amendment to a House spending bill, "my amendment is pretty straightforward and simple. It would eliminate two weapons programs that the Defense Department, Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the bipartisan fiscal commissions all say are not necessary, they are not needed, they don't go to improve military readiness, and they are redundant. It's the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle as well as the Surface Launch Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile System, the SLAMRAAM for short.... if we're going to be serious about true deficit reduction, the defense aspect of the Federal budget also has to be on the table. And what better place to start than by listening to our own military leaders who continually tell this Congress: Stop appropriating money for weapons systems we don't want, that we don't want to use, that aren't necessary, they don't enhance military readiness, and they are not going to support our troops in the field. And these two programs fit that bill." A yes vote on this amendment was a vote to stop funding the sub-par expeditionary fighting vehicle and the SLAMRAAM missile system, ending two examples of military waste.

Rep. Payne has taken a liberal course of action by voting for this bill.


H.Amdt. 150

On February 18 2011, a group of six members of the House introduced this amendment to the Republicans' main spending bill. The amendment would cut spending at the Department of Defense to 2008 levels, and further stipulates that such cuts are not be taken from the pay or health care for members of the military. As Bill Young noted in a brief debate before the vote on this amendment, it would cut more than $50 billion from the annual military budget. But as Rep. Barbara Lee noted in the same debate, a 2010 bipartisan defense task force report found that more than $100 billion could be cut from the annual defense budget without impairing national security. This amendment offered a chance for significant budgetary savings while eliminating wasteful military contracts, which the General Accounting Office has found to be rampant.

Rep. Payne has taken a liberal course of action by voting for this bill.


H.Amdt. 88

House Amendment 88, tacked on to House spending bill H.R. 1, prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency from spending any money to enforce its standards regarding the reduction of mercury emissions from cement plants in the United States. After a considerable number of scientific studies and dozens of public hearings and comment periods, the EPA determined that American cement plants release enough mercury dust into the atmosphere to kill between 1,000 and 2,500 people every year. The cement industry in America can afford to make the fixes EPA proposes in order to prevent those 1,000-2,500 deaths each year: the industry is profitable and resisting imports, which are now as low as they have been for 19 years. Those who voted for H.Amdt. 88 voted to prevent the fixes to cement plants that would protect the environment and save American lives.

Rep. Payne has taken a liberal course of action by voting against this bill.


H.Amdt 147

Under Project Labor Agreements, workers and management sit down together before a construction project begins in order to iron out differences on pay, safety standards, hours and other on-the-job practices. PLAs have a history of keeping work safe, on schedule and under budget with fewer injuries, minimized disputes, no work stoppages and more efficient construction. While the nation watched an escalating confrontation between unions and "baseball bat" Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin during the month of February 2011, Congress more quietly acted in an attempt to undercut union labor nationwide. As Rep. Laura Richardson noted in floor debate on House Amendment 147, "There is absolutely no evidence that PLA's increase the cost of construction projects; instead properly trained workers improve product quality which saves taxpayers money." In fact, as Rep. Rosa DeLauro pointed out during the same debate, "Despite all the rhetoric on the other side that PLAs increase the cost of construction projects, there is no evidence for that. Two years ago, the Economic Policy Institute reviewed a series of studies for and against prevailing wage laws and concluded that there was no adverse impact on government contract costs." If passed, House Amendment 147 would have prohibited the federal government from entering into contracts using project labor agreements. There is no evidence H.Amdt 147 would have cut costs; it would have undercut organized labor broadly defined and unions in particular, which disproportionately but not always are involved in project labor agreements. H.Amdt 147 would have effectively banned a wide swath of government contracts negotiated with unions. The measure was rejected on a 210-210 roll call vote.

Rep. Payne has taken a liberal course of action by voting against this bill.


H.Amdt 131

On June 18 2010 the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement of the Department of the Interior issued new regulations for mountaintop removal and strip mining. These setting out standards for how strip mines dump the rubble leftover from taking off the tops of mountains and extracting ore. The Interior Department regulation requires that this rubble, laden with deadly poisons and heavy metals, be kept away from streams that sustain wildlife and supply people with drinking water.

House Amendment 131 forbids the federal government from spending any money at all to enforce this requirement. It allows strip mining and mountaintop removal operations to continue to poison the environment and poison people by dumping toxic slag into mountain streams.

Rep. Payne has taken a liberal course of action by voting against this bill.




H.Amdt. 136

In debate on the floor of the House on February 18 2011, Rep. James Moran of Virginia noted the existence of dead zones in Chesapeake Bay, some of the largest in the nation:
Miles of the Chesapeake Bay have died, largely because of the fertilizer that washes into the bay. The vegetation at the bottom feeds on that nitrogen, and it grows like it's on steroids. When it decomposes, it sucks up all the oxygen in the water, and as a result, nothing can live in large areas of the Chesapeake Bay--no crabs, no oysters, no fish. Nothing. It's dead, even the plant life can't survive when the oxygen has been so depleted in the process of decomposition.
An historic agreement has emerged between all of the states bordering the Chesapeake Bay, the federal government, the Chesapeake Bay Commission and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in which all agree to set limits on the amount of sewer and agricultural pollutant runoff into the Bay to restore it to its former health -- not just for the sake of the fish, birds and amphibians that call the Bay home, but for the sake of the tourism and fishing industries that depend on a healthy bay.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia District 6 (which does not border the Chesapeake) introduced H.Amdt.136 in order to prohibit the federal government from spending any money to actually implement the agreement that has already been reached, preventing runoff limits and preserving the dead zones that leave Chesapeake Bay a literally lifeless, stinking muck.

Rep. Payne has taken a liberal course of action by voting against this bill.




H.Amdt. 169

On February 19 2011 the House of Representatives voted to reject this amendment to a House budget bill. If it had passed, House Amendment 169 would have slapped aside the usual Davis-Bacon rule for federally-funded projects. The Davis-Bacon rule isn't extravagant. It simply requires that construction workers be paid at least the prevailing wage of the area in compensation for their labor. That prevailing wage standard is not high to begin with, at poverty-level compensation in many places. But for 189 members of the House of Representatives, poverty-level pay for hard work isn't low enough. In the middle of the worst economic recession in decades, those who voted for House Amendment 169 tried to push construction workers’ wages down below the poverty level.

Rep. Payne has taken a liberal course of action by voting against this bill.


H.Con.Res. 28

On March 17 2011, the House of Representatives voted on House Concurrent Resolution 28, legislation that if passed would have forced an end to the decade-old war in Afghanistan by the end of the year using the constitutional power of Congress to declare or revoke War Powers. More specifically, the bill invoked Section 5c of the War Powers Resolution, which declares that without a declaration of war (which has never been issued in regard to the country of Afghanistan), Congress shall have the power to mandate the removal of troops from foreign soil. After ten years of warfare in Afghanistan with little progress, H.Con.Res. 28 would have redirected American energy, resources and attention to more remediable problems involving less violent resolution.

Rep. Payne has taken a liberal course of action by voting for this bill.


H. Amdt 97

If it had passed, House Amendment 97 would have stopped the government's practice of demanding "library circulation records, library patron lists, book sales records, or book customer lists" from librarians and booksellers without probable cause warrants. This amendment would have negated Section 215 of the Patriot Act as applying to libraries and bookstores, returning government practices to a constitutional standard.

Rep. Payne has taken a liberal course of action by voting for this bill.


H.Con.Res. 51

House Continuing Resolution 51 insists that President Barack Obama comply with two mandates of the American law of war as they apply to current military action in Libya. The War Powers Act of 1973 requires the President of the United States to obtain authorization from Congress before making attacks with the military unless the United States has been attacked first. Even if the United States has been attacked (which it wasn’t in the case of Libya) and the President puts the military into action without consulting Congress, the President must obtain congressional authorization within 60 days' time.

President Barack Obama violated the Constitution broadly and the War Powers Act specifically by taking the U.S. military into war against Libya without a congressional declaration and by not obtaining congressional authorization in the 74 days after the fact. In recognition of these circumstances, H.Con.Res. 51 insists that the President must withdraw the U.S. military from action against Libya as the War Powers Act mandates.

Rep. Payne has taken a liberal course of action by voting for this bill.




H.R. 2112

If passed into law, H.R. 2112 would cut funding for a number of FDA and USDA programs. Food aid programs to children, pregnant women, and senior citizens would be slashed. Tried-and-true programs to assure food safety would be gutted. Newly programs to improve meat, dairy and egg safety inspections would be scrapped. More people would go hungry and get sick in America as a result.

Rep. Payne has taken a liberal course of action by voting against this bill.


H.Amdt. 642

While the world spirals into an ever-hotter and more destabilized climate, funding for scientific research into sources of energy other than offending fossil fuels has been cut by Congress for the last two years in a row. As it is, Edward Royce, who introduced an amendment to cut the alternative energy science budget by another $10 million. That $10 million is an extremely small amount in the scale of the federal budget, but can fund important scientific breakthroughs that in the long term save us money and ameliorate climate disasters. In the end, Royce's anti-science amendment was voted down.

Rep. Payne has taken a liberal course of action by voting against this bill.


H.R. 2021

H.R. 2021, the JEPA Act, is an effort to speed up offshore drilling at the expense of clean air. If passed into law, H.R. 2021 will exempt icebreaking ships in the Arctic from current regulation under the Clean Air Act, allowing their pollution to expand without restraint. 25 members of Congress crossed political party lines in a vote to approve H.R. 2021.

Rep. Payne has taken a liberal course of action by voting against this bill.


H.R. 2417

H.R. 2417 is entitled Better Use Of Light Bulbs Act but is the opposite of better in three ways. The bill promoted the use of less efficient light bulbs, which by no measure is better use. It was based on a claim that a ban on incandescent light bulbs was imminent, but incandescent light bulbs are not being banned. Finally, H.R. 2417 was rushed onto the floor of the House of Representatives without any hearings or committee review, gutting legislative process as well as energy efficiency.

Rep. Payne has taken a liberal course of action by voting against this bill.


H.Amdt. 632

In July of 2011, the House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 2018, a bill to exclude corporate polluters from regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency. An amendment by Rep. Jared Polis would have limited the deregulation bill so that corporations with a significant history of illegal pollution practices would still be subject to EPA regulation. Polis' amendment would have allowed the conservative majority to proceed with deregulation while preserving the ability of the government to go after corporate America's biggest illegal polluters. But a conservative majority of 219 Republicans and 12 Democrats voted the Polis amendment down.

Rep. Payne has taken a liberal course of action by voting for this bill.


H.Amdt. 683

What's wrong with efficiency, the use of fewer resources at less cost to achieve the same ends? 181 Republican members of Congress found something wrong with energy efficiency, something sufficiently disturbing to lead them to vote YES on House Amendment 683. If passed, H.Amdt. 683 would have banned government websites that children about energy efficiency. That wasn't a majority, but it came awfully close.

Rep. Payne has taken a liberal course of action by voting against this bill.


H.Amdt. 719

On July 25 2011, Representative Kathy Hochul introduced an amendment to Interior appropriations bill H.R. 2584. Hochul's amendment sought to reduce the federal government's burden to spend money on private drilling firms' permit approval processes at a time when it's been found that drilling permits had gone forward without required environmental impact analysis. Hochul’s amendment, if approved, would have required oil drilling companies to pay for the cost of that impact permitting process instead, ensuring that the process was sufficiently funded by those industries that benefit from the process.

Rep. Payne has taken a liberal course of action by voting for this bill.


H.R. 1540

On December 14 2011 House of Representatives voted to let the agents of the President imprison people forever without charge, whether they are citizens or not, whether they are arrested on foreign soil or right here in America. All that the government has to do is accuse this person of being a terrorist and they can be tossed into detention, without charges, forever. They'll never be charged with a crime. They'll never have the right to have the evidence against them judged by a jury of their peers in the constitutionally-guaranteed process of a trial. Constitutional guarantees just don't mean what they used to any more. This is the definition of ultimate and unaccountable government power over its people. This act turns empowered citizens into vulnerablle subjects. This is what those who voted for H.R. 1540 have unleashed.

Rep. Payne has taken a liberal course of action by voting against this bill.


H.R. 2273

H.R. 2273, the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act, is a bill to block federal regulations for the disposal of coal ash. Lax state regulations would take the place of those federal regulations, exposing Americans to a variety of dangerous pollutants.

The danger is real. Just 17 days after the House voted to pass H.R. 2273, a mudslide at WE Energies' Oak Creek Power Plant released a large amount of toxic coal ash containing poisonous heavy metals into Lake Michigan. WE Energies' careless method of coal ash storage would be par for the course if this bill were signed into law.

Rep. Payne has taken a liberal course of action by voting against this bill.


Liberal Bills Congressman Payne has failed to support through cosponsorship:

H.R. 261

Contrary to the predictions of defenders of offshore drilling, expansion of offshore drilling has done little to drive down the price of oil. Since President Obama announced that new deepwater drilling for oil will be allowed, the price of oil has gone up, not down. The cost of a barrel of oil is now nearing 100 dollars. If we want to control the cost of energy, we need diversification of energy sources, not just the same old desperate search for oil. Offshore drilling needs to be phased out, not pumped up. Given the continuing influence of big oil companies over Congress and the White House, is there anything be done to move the USA away from the dangers of offshore drilling? Yes. There are leaders in the House of Representatives who are seeking who are working to reduce the risk created by offshore drilling. H.R. 261 would prohibit new leases for offshore drilling in American waters.

Rep. Payne has failed to cosponsor H.R. 261. After you read the bill, call Rep. Payne's office at 973-645-3213 and ask him to support it by adding his cosponsorship.


H.R. 336

H.R. 336 is a bill that responds to incidents of financial corporations raising interest rates as many as 30 percentage points on credit card users, even when those holding credit cards keep up with their payments and aren't late sending in their checks. If passed into law, the bill would cap annual interest rates for credit cards and other lines of credit in America to 15%, inclusive of fees. Also known as the Interest Rate Reduction Act, this bill would preserve the ability of credit card corporations to make a profit while protecting Americans from usurious financial exploitation.

Rep. Payne has failed to cosponsor H.R. 336. After you read the bill, call Rep. Payne's office at 973-645-3213 and ask him to support it by adding his cosponsorship.


H.R. 492

It's a dirty little secret: oil companies have a special law passed that lets them off the hook for the damage caused by their regular disasters. Thanks to that special law, oil companies aren't liable for environmental and other damages over $75 million caused by their practices. H.R. 492, the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act, would remove that cap in liability for offshore drilling disasters, so that oil companies would pay for the damage they inflict.

Rep. Payne has failed to cosponsor H.R. 492. After you read the bill, call Rep. Payne's office at 973-645-3213 and ask him to support it by adding his cosponsorship.


H.R. 555

There’s no better investment in our society than an investment in the education of a young child. Children who get early schooling do better later on, both educationally and professional, strengthening our nation’s economic productivity. Parents benefit too, able to work more, making contributions of their own to society, and reducing their dependence on social programs.

If parents have to pay for preschool that’s as expensive as their income, early education becomes a very difficult choice. H.R. 555, introduced this week by Dennis Kucinich, seeks to fill in that gap by supporting state governments in their efforts to provide universally affordable but not mandatory year-round pre-K school.

Rep. Payne has failed to cosponsor H.R. 555. After you read the bill, call Rep. Payne's office at 973-645-3213 and ask him to support it by adding his cosponsorship.




H.R. 572

As it is currently written, the Federal Motor Carrier Act does not allow states and municipalities to establish environmental safeguards for ports that are more stringent than the federal standard. H.R. 572, the Clean Ports Act, removes this impediment so communities can add environmental protections for the ports whose cleanliness and integrity they rely upon.

Rep. Payne has failed to cosponsor H.R. 572. After you read the bill, call Rep. Payne's office at 973-645-3213 and ask him to support it by adding his cosponsorship.


H.R. 601

The oil industry is one of the most profitable enterprises on the planet, and yet the same oil industry gets a load of special tax breaks from its friends in government. H.R. 601, the End Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act, cuts nearly $40 billion in subsidies to the oil industry, ending rewards for environmentally dirty practices and restoring some balance to the federal budget.

Rep. Payne has failed to cosponsor H.R. 601. After you read the bill, call Rep. Payne's office at 973-645-3213 and ask him to support it by adding his cosponsorship.


H.R. 1084

Did you know that there is an exemption for hydraulic fracturing written into the Safe Drinking Water Act? The procedure commonly known as "fracking" involves the injection of a variety of toxic chemicals into the ground in order to fracture underground shale and extract natural gas. These toxic chemicals can enter an area's underground drinking water supply or later be dumped as wastewater into America's rivers. H.R. 1084 would require the contents of fracking fluids to be publicly disclosed as needed to protect the public health, just as with other toxic discharges.

Rep. Payne has failed to cosponsor H.R. 1084. After you read the bill, call Rep. Payne's office at 973-645-3213 and ask him to support it by adding his cosponsorship.


H.R. 996

The problem with cluster bombs is threefold:

1. When used, they are distributed in large numbers across terrain;
2. They have a high failure rate, leaving many unexploded bombs;
3. They are small and typically shiny, disproportionately attracting the hands of curious children.

Cluster bombs are designed to kill people, not to damage buildings or roads. Like land mines, they continue to kill people long after the battle in which they were used. It is typical for a large number of these smaller bombs to remain undetonated, waiting to explode, after their initial deployment.

The Federation of American Scientists' report on the matter makes clear the danger of cluster munitions: "40 percent of the duds on the ground are hazardous and for each encounter with an unexploded submunition there is a 13 percent probability of detonation. Thus, even though an unexploded submunition is run over, kicked, stepped on, or otherwise disturbed, and did not detonate, it is not safe. Handling the unexploded submunition may eventually result in arming and subsequent detonation."

Cluster bombs kill civilians when they are used. Our government knows this, and yet our government continues to manufacture, use and sell cluster bombs to foreign countries.

The Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act forbids the United States government from spending money to use, sell or transfer cluster bombs unless the following requirements are met:

  • The cluster bombs are proven to have a 1 percent or lower rate of malfunction
  • The cluster bombs will not be used against anything but a clearly defined military target, in an area where there are no civilians and in places where civilians do not ordinarily live
  • A plan is submitted, with the costs included, for cleaning up all the undetonated explosives that come from cluster bombs, whether they are used by the US military, or by other countries to whom the United States has supplied the cluster bombs


There is a waiver in the law for the first requirement (for the malfunctioning rate of 1 percent or lower), in cases in which it is "vital" to use cluster bombs in order to protect the security of the United States. However, even in such cases, the President is required to submit a report to Congress which explains how civilians will be protected from the cluster bombs, and revealing the failure rate of the cluster bombs, as well as whether the cluster bombs are equipped with self-destruct functions.

Rep. Payne has failed to cosponsor H.R. 996. After you read the bill, call Rep. Payne's office at 973-645-3213 and ask him to support it by adding his cosponsorship.


H.R. 2665

In 2010 there were 22,000 mercenaries hired by the USA in Iraq and Afghanistan; in 2011 the number of hired mercenaries climbed to more than 28,000. By March 2011, there were more private military contractors paid by the U.S. in Iraq than there were U.S. soldiers. Jan Schakowsky, the sponsor of this bill to end the use of mercenaries for traditional military security and combat roles, explains why this is a problem:

"Military officers in the field have said contractors operate like cowboys, using unnecessary and excessive force uncharacteristic of enlisted soldiers. In 2007, guards working for a firm then known as Blackwater were accused of killing 17 Iraqis, damaging the U.S. mission in Iraq and hurting our reputation around the world. Later that year, a contractor employed by DynCorp International allegedly shot and killed an unarmed taxi driver."

Military contractors have often acted with disregard for human dignity and when they break the law have frequently used loopholes to escape accountability. The result is inexcusable, violence in the name of the United States with no calls for justice. H.R. 2665 would finally bring this physical, psychological and political disaster to an end.

Rep. Payne has failed to cosponsor H.R. 2665. After you read the bill, call Rep. Payne's office at 973-645-3213 and ask him to support it by adding his cosponsorship.




Rep. Payne's Conservative Action Score: 2
The Conservative Action Score is calculated by compiling a series of observably conservative roll call votes and bill cosponsorships in the 112th Congress and comparing Donald Payne's behavior against that conservative standard:
  • Disregard for constitutional protections of American civil liberty
  • Secrecy and exclusion of citizens from government
  • Support for discriminatory policy
  • The symbolic denigration and practical undermining of science and education in America
  • Active harm to the environment or passive allowance for environmental destruction
  • Pursuit of further advantage for those in America who are already its richest
  • Dismissal of peaceful possibilities and obeiscance to the military-industrial complex
A score of 2 means that Representative Payne has taken 2% of the possible conservative actions identified on the That's My Congress scorecard.

H.Con.Res. 13

On the first of November 2011, the House of Representatives voted to pass H.Con.Res. 13, the full text of which contains the following Congressional affirmations:
  • "The people of the United States have turned to God as their source for sustenance, protection, wisdom, strength, and direction"
  • "God, our Creator, as the source of our rights"
  • "Without God, there could be no American form of government"
These affirmations, as passed in H.Con.Res. 13, establish official Congressional reverence for the God character that is specific to Judaism, Christianity and Islam and contradictory to the religious beliefs of agnostics, atheists and the practitioners of dozens of American and international religions. H.Con.Res. directly contradicts the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which mandates that the Congress shall pass no law establishing religion. But only 11 out of the 435 members of the House opposed H.Con.Res. 13 by voting NO or PRESENT.

Rep. Payne has followed a conservative course by voting for this bill.

Recent legislative news in which Donald Payne plays a part:

Only 26 Stand For Separation Of Church And State In Congress
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve H.R. 2070, the Prayer Act of 2011. The legislation, if passed in the Senate and signed into law by the President, would not only allow, but mandate the creation of a government-sponsored expression of religious worship on public land on the National Mall in Washington D.C. was wwii a christian crusadeThe bill would enshrine in our nation's capital city an official statement that World War II was fought in order to preserve Christianity. This statement is historically inaccurate. The purpose of America's involvement in the war was not religious, but a matter of international security: To militarily defeat the Axis nations of Germany, Italy... [more]

Progressive Caucus Supports 5th and 6th Amendment Rights by Margin of 60-10
On December 14 2011, the House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 1540, a bill that violates the 5th Amendment and 6th Amendment rights of people under the Constitution. These Amendments, part of the Constitution's Bill of Rights, prohibits the government from detaining people without charge forever, without a trial, without being informed of their rights. These are the powers that H.R. 1540 grants to the government in spite of the Constitution. One of the four central mandates of the Congressional Progressive Caucus is "Protecting and Preserving Civil Rights and Civil Liberties." So you'd think that the members... [more]

Will Congress Deny The Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative Again?
India and the United States of America share a tradition of non-violent civil disobedience. American Henry David Thoreau influenced Indian Mohandas K. Gandhi who in turn influenced American Martin Luther King Jr. gandhi-king initiativeOn Friday, in order to honor this activist cultural connection, and to encourage its continuation, U.S. Representative introduced H.R. 3056, legislation that would establish a Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative, bringing students, scholars and professionals from the United States and India into contact with each other to discuss and discover new concepts in non-violent activism. This isn't the first time that the idea of the Gandhi-King exchange... [more]

Pro-Business? No Republicans support bill supporting Manufacturing in the USA
The Republican Party frequently is supposed to be a pro-business party, but what's most notable about recently introduced pro-business legislation is the total lack of Republican support for it. H.R. 1912 (introduced by David Cicilline in the House) and its counterpart S. 1457 (introduced by Kirsten Gillibrand in the Senate), would shuffle money not to grandmothers, not to the poor, but to American businesses. That sounds like just the sort of thing that would warm the cockles of a Republican's heart,... [more]

Roll Call of the Vote on the Big Budget Cut Bill
If you look on the list of roll call votes taken by the House of Representatives that's maintained by the Library of Congress for a vote on the debt ceiling increase legislation passed by the House this evening, you won't find it. There's nothing with the word "budget" or "cuts" or "spending" or "debt ceiling" to be found there. What you will find is a vote on S. 365, a bill "to make a technical amendment to the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002". That's because, in order to rush legislation to increase the debt ceiling and mandate immense cuts to important programs throughout our country's federal government, without many people having the chance to actually read the bill, Speaker of the House John Boehner had to cut and paste the budget bill into a... [more]

List of the 163 Democrats Who Spent Time Promoting Theocracy Instead Of Creating Jobs
The Democratic Party has promised us that it would do whatever it takes to create jobs and improve the economy. Democrats in Congress said that they would work to get a good jobs bill passed, and not waste time with frivolous matters. That's not what happened this week. This week, the House of Representatives spent the better part of a day debating, and then voting on, a resolution that has no force in law, but declares that "the people of the United States have turned to God". The fact is that the American people are increasingly turning away from belief in God. The American... [more]

Which Democrats Support The Save Our Climate Act? Which Democrats Are Slacking Off?
If you want economic justice, if you want corporations to be forced to take responsibility, if you want to see strong action to confront climate change, then you should support H.R. 3242, the Save Our Climate Act. The brutal economic fact is this: We are all paying a carbon tax already. Only, it's not called a carbon tax. It's a hidden tax. When residents of Southern states pay huge electric bills running their air conditioners as the temperature soars above 100 degrees for weeks on end, they're paying a carbon tax. When peoples' homes are destroyed in tornadoes and floods, they're paying a carbon tax. When entire neighborhoods are burned to the ground by increasing numbers of wildfires, the people who live there are paying a carbon... [more]

Roll Call: U.S. House Passes Patriot Act Extension With No Reforms!
Yes, it's confusing. They call the bill the "Small Business Additional Temporary Extension Act of 2011, S. 990, but it's really the bill to extend the Patriot Act without any reforms, without any chance of amendment. Harry Reid introduced his bill to continue the extreme surveillance regime of the Patriot Act without any reforms just a few days ago. The bill didn't go through committee. Reid didn't give any U.S. senators time to offer amendments, circumventing the processes of representative democracy by slapping the Patriot Act onto the small business legislation and moving it to the floor of the Senate, lickety split. Senator Reid and his fellow fans of the Patriot Act unconstitutional spy powers had months to pass their... [more]

Roll Call Vote On the 2011 Budget Deal
At 3:00 PM on the dot this afternoon, the members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted on H.R. 1473, the budget deal for federal government spending from now until the end of September. The broad distribution of the vote confirms what liberals have worried about - that despite Barack Obama's inspiring speeches on economic matters, the Obama Administration is now more aligned with the Republican Party than his own Democratic Party. Although there are many more Republicans... [more]

Bridging the Vital Center: Testing Americans Elect's Complaints About Cooperation Across Ideology in Congress
"America faces large challenges, but the two political parties in Washington are not working together to find solutions. Most voters — Democrats, Independents, and Republicans — feel unrepresented by both extremes. We need new leadership, and it begins with you. In June 2012, Americans Elect will invite you and every registered voter in the country to choose a third ticket for President and Vice President through an online convention. This ticket will bridge the vital center of public opinion and will be on the November 2012 ballot in all 50 states."
So begins the very brief appeal by Americans Elect written for people looking... [more]