Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords returns to the House to vote on debt-ceiling compromise

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Democrat of Arizona, returned to the floor of the House of Representatives Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, in Washington, to vote on the debt standoff compromise. (Photo: AP/House TelevisionRep. Gabrielle Giffords, Democrat of Arizona, returned to the floor of the House of Representatives Monday, Aug. …With just a few minutes left in which to vote on the debt-ceiling compromise Monday evening, the entire House of Representatives rose in a standing ovation to welcome Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords to floor.

It was the first time the Congresswoman had been back in the House of Representatives since suffering a brain injury during a brutal shooting that killed six and injured 14 people in Arizona in January.

"I have closely followed the debate over our debt ceiling and have been deeply disappointed at what's going on in Washington," Giffords said in a statement. "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."

"The #Capitol looks beautiful and I am honored to be at work tonight," the Congresswoman tweeted at about 8 p.m. Eastern time.

The Congresswoman looked frail but determined as entered the chamber through a side door and slowly made her way through the crowd, limping slightly. Her brown hair was cut short, and she wore thick glasses, a blue jacket, and had a glove over her right hand. She waved before a crowd of her Democratic colleagues surrounded her, applauding; when some of her Republican colleagues crossed the aisle to welcome her, she stood and waved again.

"It was very heartening to see her," Democratic whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland told the New York Times. "She wanted to be with her colleagues as she was at the beginning of the year."

"Her presence today to make sure that we honor the obligations of our great country is important and symbolic." Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said from the House floor. "We are privileged to call her colleague. Some of us very privileged to call her friend. Throughout America, there isn't a name that stirs more love, more admiration, more respect, more wishing for our daughters to be like her, than the name of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Thank you, Gabby."

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