News / USA

Shaken Lawmakers Gather on Capitol Steps After Arizona Shooting

Members of Congress and staff members observe a moment of silence for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and other shooting victims, Monday, Jan. 10, 2011, on the East Steps of the Capitol in Washington
Members of Congress and staff members observe a moment of silence for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and other shooting victims, Monday, Jan. 10, 2011, on the East Steps of the Capitol in Washington
Cindy Saine

A number of lawmakers and as many as 500 congressional staff members gathered on the east front steps of the U.S. Capitol Monday to hold a moment of silence for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and all of the other victims of Saturday’s shooting rampage in Tucson, Arizona that left 6 people dead.  Giffords is still in critical condition and the suspected gunman appeared in court Monday afternoon.

The House members who have returned to Capitol Hill appear shaken and unsure what actions to take to respond to the attempted assassination of their colleague.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama also observed a moment of silence at the White House Monday, as did Americans across the country.  Afterwards, Mr. Obama talked to reporters alongside visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

"The main thing we are doing is to offer our thought and prayers to those who have been impacted, making sure that we are joining together and pulling together as a country.  And as president of the United States, but also as a father, obviously I am spending a lot of time just thinking about the families and reaching out to them,” he said.

One of the six people killed was a nine-year-old girl.  The president also praised those bystanders at the scene who took quick action to tackle the gunman and to take away his ammunition as he tried to reload.

On the steps of the Capitol, Representative Emmanuel Cleaver, a Democrat from Missouri and a pastor, followed the moment of silence by leading an interdenominational prayer for all those killed and wounded in the attack, for the spirit of the United States and for the safety of all lawmakers.

"Help us move from this dark place to a place of sunshine and hope. Bless these God, your servants who serve this nation and keep them safe,” he said.

Republican Representative Fred Upton of Michigan, the new Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said he was glad the Republican leadership had suspended normal House business for one week.

"I think it was appropriate to take a step back and not be in session for what was going to be a shortened week anyway because of the Republican retreat,” he said.

But Upton told a reporter he does not believe it is necessary for Congress to take additional steps that would further restrict gun ownership.

The House had originally been set to hold a contentious vote on Wednesday to repeal President Obama’s sweeping health care reform legislation, before Republican members head to Baltimore, Maryland for a previously scheduled retreat.

Some Democratic lawmakers are floating ideas for new legislation once business resumes on Capitol Hill.  Democratic Representative Robert Brady of Pennsylvania says he would like to expand current legislation that put restrictions on images and words that threaten the president to include words and images that threaten members of Congress. Democratic Representative Carolyn McCarthy of New York wants to introduce gun control legislation.

Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat from Washington, D.C. said it is highly unlikely that the new Republican-controlled House will pass tougher gun control laws.  But she says she is still not afraid and will continue to go out and meet with her constituents face to face.

"There is no practical way to change what we do.  The reason we are elected every two years is that the framers [authors of the Constitution] meant us to get as close to the people as possible, for them to judge us.  One way they will judge us is if they see us fleeing from them, because they will think we are afraid of them,” she said.

Rank and file House members currently do not have any security guards.

New House Speaker John Boehner says there will be no recorded votes on the floor of the House this week, though there will be a resolution introduced on Wednesday to honor the victims of the Tuscon massacre. Also on Wednesday, House members will receive a major security briefing involving the Capitol Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Related video by Chris Simkins:

You May Like

Kurdish President: More Needed to Defeat Islamic State

In interview with VOA's Persian Service, Massoud Barzani says peshmerga forces have not received weapons, logistical support needed to successfully fight IS in northern Iraq More

Sierra Leone's Stray Dog Population Doubles During Ebola Crisis

Many dog owners fear their pets could infect them with the virus and have abandoned them, leading to the increase and sparking fears of rabies More

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

New methods for mapping pain in the brain not only validate sufferers of chronic pain but might someday also lead to better treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Paini
X
Shelley Schlender
April 20, 2015 7:03 PM
Pain has a purpose - it can stop you from touching a flame or from walking on a broken leg. As an injury heals, the pain goes away. Usually. But worldwide, one out of every five people suffers from pain that lasts for months and years, leading to lost jobs, depression, and rising despair when medical interventions fail or health experts hint that a pain sufferer is making it up. From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Italy Rescues Migrants After Separate Deadly Capsize Incident

Italy continued its massive search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Monday for the capsized boat off the coast of Libya that was carrying hundreds of migrants, while at the same time rescuing Syrian migrants from another vessel off the coast of Sicily. Thirteen children were among the 98 Syrian migrants whose boat originated from Turkey on the perilous journey to Europe.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs