Against the backdrop of a near-universally loathed House of Representatives passing a near-universally loathed bill that will stave a certain economic calamity, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords returned to the House floor for the first time since a deranged gunman shot her in the head at point-blank range in early January.
After weeks of political maneuvers and staged chicanery managed to piss off just about everyone inside Washington DC and out, Giffords’ unannounced return served to remind the nation what a human being in Congress looks like. It seemed to say “You may hate these 434 gasbags who cause more problems than they solve, but here’s someone about whom we can all be proud.”
The despised compromise bill that will raise the U.S. debt limit passed 269-161 on Monday evening, with 174 Republicans and 95 Democrats voting in favor of the last-minute, last-ditch effort. One of those aye votes came from Giffords: “I had to be here for this vote,” Rep. Giffords said in a statement. “I could not take the chance that my absence could crash our economy.”
Watch Giffords return to the House floor during the C-SPAN coverage:
Benjy Sarlin at Talking Points Memo has more on how it unfolded: “Gabrielle Giffords entered and left the House on foot, limping with the help of her husband, Mark Kelly. On her way out, she was trailed by her friends, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, as well as the Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, who was in attendance just for the occasion.”
After the past few weeks, doesn’t it feel like we needed this Giffords Moment?
The Senate passed the bill at 12:30 ET on Tuesday. Crisis averted?
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—AZ’s Bring Your Handgun to Work Day Came Just After Giffords Shooting
—Rep. Giffords Makes First Public Appearance Since Shooting
—Rep. Giffords’ Road to Recovery: Speaking, Mouthing Lyrics, Even Walking