Giffords’ appearance buoys House in midst of high-stakes vote

If there was a bright spot in Monday night’s House vote on the debt-deal, at least for Democrats, it was the surprise appearance by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords for the high-stakes, high-drama vote to increase the debt ceiling and slash federal spending.

Giffords is the Arizona Democrat who was shot in January, in an incident that shocked the country and sparked at least momentary unity in Congress. Giffords voted “yes” on the proposal to raise the debt ceiling and cut spending, avoiding a U.S. default. The House erupted in cheers and applause as Giffords made her first foray back onto the House floor.

Although he voted no on the debt-deal, Rep. John Larson, D-1st District, said Giffords’ presence and her yes vote were the most uplifting moments in weeks of petty politics and high-stakes brinksmanship.

“The thing about this place is that you end up being physically drained from the tension and the back-and-forth,” Larson said. “And then all of a sudden, Gabrielle Giffords shows up on the floor….Oh my God, I don’t think there was a dry eye. Just sheer joy from both sides… It restores a little bit of hope and faith” after what was otherwise a “pretty dreary” day.