Last night, something unexpected happened as the House of Representatives voted on the debt-ceiling compromise. (If you haven’t been following, here is the very short story: Democrats and Republicans have been in a deadlock for months over how to handle our debt load, and the government’s ability to borrow money expires at midnight tonight.) With two minutes left to go in the House’s vote, a side door of the chamber opened and a woman walked in. It was Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, who has been missing from the proceedings since January, when she was shot in the head at point-blank range. While Giffords was a touch unsteady on her feet and didn’t speak much, she had a big smile on her face as she waved to the members of the House. She was greeted with a standing ovation and a flurry of hugs. Her presence appeared to have a palpable effect. While the vote in favor of the compromise bill had been stalled at 200, after Giffords entered her ‘yes’ vote, it shot up to 216 in favor. In the end, the bill passed with 269 votes—sending it to the Senate this morning.
“The Capitol looks beautiful tonight and I am honored to be at work,” Giffords Tweeted. Keep reading »