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article imageGabrielle Giffords returns to Congress to vote on debt ceiling

By Kim I. Hartman     Aug 2, 2011 in Politics
Washington - Gabrielle Giffords made a triumphant return to the House floor Monday evening to cast a vote in favor of a bill that would raise the nation's debt ceiling. Her return is being hailed as historic as the bill itself, which passed by a margin of 269 to 161.
At 7 p.m. Monday night Rep. Gabrielle Giffords office sent a message to the sixty thousand followers on her Twitter account and to her Facebook wall that read, "Gabrielle has returned to Washington to support a bipartisan bill to prevent economic crisis. Turn on C-SPAN now."
Giffords' message came as she could be seen on C-Span entering the House chambers. Many of the House members were already on their feet when she entered the room and the rest soon joined them as they welcomed the Arizona Congresswoman back to the House Floor.
Giffords, who was shot in the head seven months ago by Jared Loughner, was greeted by her fellow Congressman with embraces, tears, handshakes and sustained applause.
An hour later Giffords sent out another message via Twitter. She said, "The #Capitol looks beautiful and I am honored to be at work tonight."
Followers of Giffords responded on Twitter with congratulations and words of encouragement for the Congresswoman. Karen @glassridges said, "@Rep_Giffords It was a privilege and an honor to watch you on the house floor! Thank you for inspiring grace and courage!"
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords
Photo: P.K. Weis of SouthwestPhotoBank.com, Courtesy Rep. Giffords
Giffords said in a statement from her office:
“I have closely followed the debate over our debt ceiling and have been deeply disappointed at what’s going on in Washington. After weeks of failed debate in Washington, I was pleased to see a solution to this crisis emerge. I strongly believe that crossing the aisle for the good of the American people is more important than party politics. I had to be here for this vote. I could not take the chance that my absence could crash our economy,” reports HuffPost.
The Congresswoman's return for the historic House vote today was not a surprise to those in attendance who learned yesterday that she planned to attend the House session. Her return to work has been speculated upon by news media for months, with some questioning if she would ever be able to work again.
Fox News reported in July on a neurosurgeon who said in his opinion, based on her remarkable recovery, that she would "certainly return to a career in politics one day—but when that day is still remains unknown."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said, "Her presence here ... as well as her entire service to Congress, brings honor to this chamber. There isn't a name that stirs more admiration throughout the country than Giffords," reported the Los Angeles Times.
Giffords left the House Floor after the vote, "escorted by her husband Mark Kelly and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.," according to ABC News.
More about Gabrielle Giffords, Congress, vote on debt ceiling deal, Debt ceiling, Nancy pelosi
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