Wounded Congresswoman Makes Last Vote in Congress

Posted January 25th, 2012 at 8:55 am (UTC-5)
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Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was seriously wounded in a shooting incident in her home state of Arizona last year, is expected to submit her resignation letter on Wednesday to concentrate on her recovery.

Giffords' office said in a statement on Tuesday that she will make her last official decision as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday, before stepping down.

The 41-year-old Democratic congresswoman will vote on a bill she co-sponsored that imposes tougher sanctions on smugglers who use small, low-lying aircraft to bring drugs across the U.S-Mexico border.

Giffords received a standing ovation when she entered the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday night to attend President Barack Obama's State of the Union address. Giffords received a big hug from the president as he entered the chamber to give his speech.

Giffords nearly died on January 8, 2011, in an apparent assassination attempt outside a grocery store where she was meeting with constituents. A gunshot wound to the head has left Giffords with slurred speech and limited movement after a year of rehabilitation.

On Sunday Giffords announced she would step down from Congress this week. In a video statement posted on the Internet, Giffords said she is getting better, but that work remains for her recovery.

She said she is resigning for the good of the state she represents. But she vowed she will be back to work both for Arizona and the United States.

Giffords has drawn support from both sides of the aisle as she struggled to regain her health. In her seat Tuesday evening for Mr. Obama's speech at the Capitol, she was flanked by two other lawmakers from Arizona, one a Democrat and the other a Republican.

President Obama has said Giffords' “cheerful presence” will be missed. He has said he is confident she will return to the public sphere eventually.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer will set dates for a special election to fill Giffords' seat after she submits her resignation letter to the governor and Speaker of the House John Boehner.

Six people were killed in last year's attack on Giffords, including a member of her staff, a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl. A dozen other people were wounded.

The man charged in the shooting, Jared Loughner, has pleaded not guilty. It has been reported that he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and he has been in jail since the crime.