Rep. Donald Payne remains hospitalized after 'cardiac episode' more than a week ago

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WASHINGTON — Rep. Donald Payne Jr., D-N.J. remains hospitalized following a "cardiac episode" early this month stemming from complications tied to his diabetes, his office said in a statement Wednesday.

The update comes more than a week after Payne's office referred to "his improvement," a "good" prognosis and the expectation of a "full recovery."

“Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. suffered a cardiac episode based on complications from his diabetes last week,” his office said in a statement Wednesday. “Today, he is in stable condition at a local hospital and continues to be under doctor’s care. While we hope for a full recovery, we ask everyone to keep him in your prayers.”

The new statement also follows a New Jersey Globe report that said Payne remains unconscious. Asked about the report, a spokesperson for Payne directed NBC News to the office's recent statement.

The latest characterization paints a starker image of the severity of Payne's condition than the first statement put out on April 9, days after the incident.

"Currently, he is recovering in the hospital as doctors conduct routine exams to monitor and observe his improvement," the earlier statement said. "The Congressman’s prognosis is good and he is expected to make a full recovery.”

Payne, 65, is running unopposed in the June 4 Democratic primary. He has represented New Jersey's 10th Congressional District, which covers parts of Essex, Hudson and Union counties, since 2012. His father was the first Black person to be elected to Congress from New Jersey; he died of cancer in 2012.

With narrow margins in the House, Payne’s absence can have a significant impact on floor votes.

The current party breakdown is 218 Republicans to 213 Democrats, but when Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., resigns this weekend, that will change to 217-213. With Payne absent, the maximum number of Democrats voting would be lowered to 212.

In a 217-213 scenario, Republicans can afford only one GOP defection. But if it's a 217-212 breakdown, they can afford two and still pass legislation without help from Democrats.

Kyle Stewart reported from Washington and Zoë Richards from New York.

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