Post image for Gabrielle Giffords returns to Congress to vote on debt limit bill

Gabrielle Giffords returns to Congress to vote on debt limit bill

by Adam Russett on August 2, 2011

There was a glimmer of hope amidst the partisan rancor Monday night when Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords appeared in the House of Representatives to cast a vote for the first time since she was nearly killed in a January shooting. The Los Angeles Times reports Giffords was one of 95 Democrats who voted in favor of raising the debt ceiling, and the measure passed the lower chamber of Congress.

Though the passage of the John Boehner-championed bill was a big story, Giffords' surprise appearance may have overshadowed it. The congresswoman was shot in the head at near point-blank range in an attack that killed six other people. She entered the House joined by her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, and to a standing ovation from everyone in attendance.

Despite her continued recovery, in a statement released by her office, Giffords said that she felt she could not miss the vote.

"I strongly believe that crossing the aisle for the good of the American people is more important than party politics," she said in the statement. "I had to be here for this vote. I could not take the chance that my absence could crash our economy."

As for the bill Giffords voted for, it is being hailed as a mixed bag from members of both parties. Tea Party members of Congress have criticized the measure because they believe it did not make as many cuts as they wanted, while liberal Democrats are incensed that President Obama backed off on his demands for tax increase on the wealthy.

With approval from the House, the bill is set to move to the Senate on Tuesday, and all indications are pointing toward it passing there as well.

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