Giffords' Return to House Met with Bipartisan Cheers

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Democrats and Republicans are equally unhappy with the deal they've reached to cut spending and raise the debt ceiling.  

But cheers erupted from both sides of aisle when Rep. Gabrielle Gifford, D-Ariz., returned to the House floor Monday night.

"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," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. said.

It was the first time the congresswoman had stood on the House floor since she was shot in the head at a Tucson, Ariz., shopping center in January.

"Even the hardest hearts, and we had a lot of hardened hearts in this debate, just melted when she walked in the room," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., said.

"She is a model for the attitude that we should all have because she is tenacious and she is relentless in her love for America. ... You were missed and we're glad to have you back," Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, said.

Giffords' arrival came none to soon as only two minutes remained on the House clock for the vote on the historic debt limit measure. With the help from her vote, the deal passed by a margin of 269 to 161. 

"I have closely followed the debate over our debt ceiling and have been deeply disappointed at what's going on in Washington," the congresswoman said in a statement released later.

"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.
    
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, won the support of more than two-thirds of his caucus, assuring Republicans few GOP priorities were in the line of fire.

The deal eliminates up to $2.4 trillion in spending over 10 years, contains no tax increases, and opens the door to Medicare cuts.

"This has been a long and messy process," President Obama said. "And as with any compromise, the outcome is far from satisfying."

There are parts of the bill Republicans don't like as well.

The president gets about $44 billion more for domestic programs -- including Pell grants for college. There's also $10 billion in cuts for defense. And there's power for the government to borrow $2.4 trillion.

Still, some GOP leaders say Americans have changed the direction of this country with the 87 new members they sent to Congress. 

"I said the bill is not perfect and it's not," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said. "But changing the way Washington spends tax payer dollars is a lot like redirecting or turning an aircraft carrier.  It's a monumental task.
  
What's still not clear is whether or not the deal will protect America's AAA credit rating.

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