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U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords casts first House vote since Jan. 8 shooting

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (P.K.Weis/southwestphotobank.com

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords returned to Congress today to vote in favor of legislation that will avoid a default by the U.S. government.

It was the first vote she has cast since she was shot and critically wounded on Jan. 8 while meeting with her constituents in Tucson.

“I have closely followed the debate over our debt ceiling and have been deeply disappointed at what’s going on in Washington,” Giffords 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.”

The New York Times reported that Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, the minority leader, hailed Giffords’ return, saying: “There isn’t a name that stirs more love, more admiration, more respect, more wishing for our daughters to be like her than the name of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Thank you, Gabby.”

In December 2009 and again in February 2010, Giffords refused to go along with an increase in the debt limit. But this vote was substantially different, with the strength of the U.S. economy hanging in the balance.