• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Rep. Gabby Giffords' appearance overshadows House debt vote

August 1, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
There were applause and cheers Monday night on Capitol Hill. Not for the outcome of the crucial debt vote, but for one vote that was totally unexpected.

That vote came from Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who made a surprise appearance to vote in favor of the bill.

Giffords slowly made her way into the House chamber. Her colleagues were stunned and joyful to see her surprising return.

"Hugs, tears, even the hardest heart, which we had a lot of hardened hearts in this debate, just melted when she walked in the room," Rep. Debbi Wasserman Shultz (D-Florida) said.

Giffords' close-cropped hair was clear evidence of her fight to recover from being shot in the head in January when she was greeting constituents outside a Tucson grocery store.

"It means so much to our country ... to witness the return of our colleague who is the personification of courage, of sincerity, of admiration throughout the country," Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California told the House.

"The #Capitol looks beautiful and I am honored to be at work tonight," Giffords tweeted from Washington.

With a smile on his face, Vice President Joe Biden walked to the House floor and said "I came to see Gabby, that's why I'm here."

Mark Kelly, Giffords' husband, was all smiles as well.

"It feels good," he said as Giffords was on the House floor. "Great, actually."

Surrounded by well wishers, Giffords mouthed "thank you" as she greeted those around her.

Giffords cast her yes vote and, leaning heavily on an aide, left the House floor.

Load Comments