Congress Returns as Giffords Shows Progress

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Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords continues to amaze doctors with her recovery after being shot in the head Jan. 8 during a shooting rampage in Tucson, Ariz., that left six people dead.

Monday, the 40-year-old was no longer getting help from a respirator, and doctors upgraded her condition from critical to serious.  Giffords' husband said she has progressed so much that she was able to smile and give him a neck rub.

Surgery was performed Monday on Giffords' eye socket to remove bone fragments and relieve pressure on the eye.  A breathing tube and feeding tube were also moved to reduce the risk of infection.

The extent of Giffords' recovery remains uncertain, but doctors also hinted they may soon know if she will talk again.

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Meanwhile, Giffords' colleagues returned to work with both sides promising to change the tone of the political rhetoric in Washington, D.C.

For a second weekend, Tucson was the most discussed topic on Sunday talk shows. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., spoke of her good friend Giffords' recovery.

"She's using both sides of her body," Gillibrand said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "She is able to breathe on her own, she is able to open her eyes and to show people she understands what she is hearing and seeing. It's an extraordinary amount of progress for a woman who sustained such a horrific injury that she did."

The media and liberals have speculated that Jared Loughner, the alleged shooter, was motivated by heated politics. Although that claim turned out to be false, the Tucson shooting has sparked a call to change the political tone.

Both sides have talked about working toward a kinder, gentler Washington.

"Well, I think that we Republicans and I think Democrats alike will realize that if we tone down the rhetoric, sometimes our debate is more effective from our own side," Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., said.

There has also been a call for Democrats and Republicans to sit together during President Obama's State of the Union address scheduled on Jan. 25 -- instead of on opposite sides of the aisle that has become customary. At least two members of Congress say they will do just that.

"That's symbolic but maybe sets a tone and everything gets a little bit more civil," Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said.

"Some of the problems in our country is that we talk past each other, not to each other," Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said. 

The first bill up for debate in the U.S. House of Representatives is what Republicans had called the repeal of the job-killing health care law. However, over the weekend, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, changed that title from job-killing to job-destroying.

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CBN News
Efrem Graham

Efrem Graham

News Anchor & Reporter

Efrem Graham is an award-winning journalist, who comes to CBN News from the ABC owned and operated station in Toledo, Ohio.  He received his master's degree from the Columbia University Journalism School. He also holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.  Follow Efrem on Twitter @EfremGraham and "like" him at