Giffords Returns To House, Votes On Debt Ceiling
As the petty political squabbling over the Treasury’s debt ceiling winds down, with so many Americans sick and tired of anything having to do with the inner workings of Washington, a powerful symbol of American strength and endurance made an appearance on Capitol Hill this afternoon.
As shell-shocked Democratic and Republican House members shuffled to their accustomed places to vote on the debt ceiling plan finally worked out by House leaders and President Barack Obama, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona) made her way into the House Chamber.
The clapping began in the rear, as members of both major parties saw who had entered, the applause sweeping the room in a rare, prolonged standing ovation for a returning member. Not just six months after having been shot in the head by a lone gunman in front of an Arizona grocery store, Giffords walked of her own accord into the House and cast her vote in favor of the debt ceiling bill.
This was Gifford’s first appearance at the House since the assassination attempt, and the second public showing since seeing her husband off for the next-to-last space shuttle mission in May. House members surrounded Giffords, parting only for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to embrace the returning Congresswoman.
After partisan bickering for months, followed by what some see as a near-miss on the U.S. defaulting on its debts, Congress’ emotions were already high before Giffords lifted spirits with her arrival.
It is not known when Giffords will formally return to Congress, but as she leaves the great room, her strong presence, along with our relief at the crisis’ end, will surely remain.