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Giffords Returns for Debt Plan Vote

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords returned to the House floor Monday night to cast a vote in support of the debt ceiling increase after a nearly seven-month absence.

The Arizona Democrat was accompanied into the chamber by her close friend and colleague, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), and was greeted at the door by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic leaders. The chamber erupted into applause when she arrived, and she stood to hug colleagues.

Giffords was shot in Tucson, Ariz., on Jan. 8 in an attack that killed six people and wounded several others. She was released from a Houston rehabilitation hospital in June to continue her recuperation in the League City, Texas, home of her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly. Kelly, who commanded the space shuttle Endeavor’s final mission in May, and the members of his crew will meet Tuesday afternoon with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, according to the White House.

“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.”

Monday’s vote was her first since the shooting. The House passed the debt ceiling bill, 269-161.

“The Capitol looks beautiful, and I am honored to be at work tonight,” she wrote from her Twitter account after the vote.

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