"Just as the House is the body that is closest to the people, it is a body of people who are close knit," he said. "A loss of one is felt by all. This is particularly true in the case of this distinguished gentleman from New Jersey."

"Through Don Payne's story, we see how much we are capable of, and how much we have left to do."

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) called Payne, who passed in March, a hero in a city of heroes.

"Washington, D.C., is a city of heroes," Cleaver said. "Yes, I challenge the late-night comedians and the mid-day commentators. Washington, D.C., is a city of heroes."