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Giffords makes dramatic return for debt vote
Giffords got a standing ovation as she walked into the chamber, almost 8 months after she was shot in the head.
Houston: US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords made a dramatic return to the House of Representatives to vote for the debt ceiling bill, nearly seven months after she was shot in the head.
Giffords made an emotional return to the House floor on Monday, casting a vote in favour of the bill to raise the nation's debt ceiling and avoid a massive default.
The lawmaker, who has been undergoing intense rehabilitation and has kept out of the public eye since January, caught the chamber by surprise. With two minutes to go in the 15-minute vote, Giffords walked in and hugged House
Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, amidst a standing ovation from both Republicans and the Democrats.
The chamber, which has been the site of acrimonious debate and bitter partisan fighting for weeks, erupted in applause after Giffords voted "yes" to the bill.
"I have closely followed the debate over our debt ceiling and have been deeply disappointed at what's going on in Washington," Giffords, who was visibly thin and missing her long blonde hair, said.
"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," she said.
Giffords was shot in the head on January 8 at a grocery store in Tucson, Arizona. Six people were killed in the rampage, including a federal judge and a minor girl.
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