Louisiana Representative Steve Scalise Returns 15 Weeks After Shooting

Louisiana Representative Steve Scalise made an emotional return to Congress on Thursday. Scalise was back for the first time since he was shot during a baseball practice in June.

He was joyful as he addressed the packed House chamber.

"You have no idea how great this feels to be back at work in the people's house."

Scalise was greeted by a standing ovation and cheers from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

House Speaker Paul Ryan was one of those in attendance and spoke as he recognized his GOP colleague.

"Our prayers have been answered," Ryan said, before adding, "We have differences, let's keep them in check, but out of these tragedies good things can come from it."

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi echoed that sentiment.

"Today, we are team Scalise."

Scalise said he was living proof "that miracles do happen."

Scalise was wounded on the morning of June 14 as he took part in a GOP team practice for the charity Congressional Baseball Game at a field in Alexandria, Virginia. Three others were also shot. Scalise suffered serious internal injuries as a result of the incident and was hospitalized for several weeks. He was in critical condition and at imminent risk of death because the bullet that struck caused injuries to numerous internal organs after entering his left hip. Scalise was released from the hospital in late July after several surgeries and went through intensive inpatient rehabilitation afterward.

Scalise thanked the "true angels" of the U.S. Capitol Police who helped save his life, officers Crystal Griner and David Bailey. Bailey, who was present in the visitor's gallery in the chamber, was applauded as Scalise called him "my hero." President Trump awarded officers Griner and Bailey the Medal of Valor in July.
Scalise recounted the severity of his injuries in an interview to air Sunday on CBS's 60 Minutes.

"I found out later just how much damage was done internally. You know, I mean, my femur was shattered. The hip and pelvis had serious damage where the bullet went through and, you know, did some damage to areas that had to be shored up with steel plates... they did a phenomenal job of rebuilding, you know, kind of rebuilding Humpty Dumpty. I mean, there were, there was a lot of damage inside that that had to get fixed."
After numerous surgeries and extensive rehabilitation, Scalise returned to the House floor with the help of crutches.

Scalise returns to his role in House GOP leadership as majority whip. Currently, his party finds itself embarking on the ambitious goal of a wide-ranging tax overhaul package.

In a statement, his office said, "Starting today, Whip Scalise will be resuming his work at the Capitol, while also completing an extended period of out-patient rehabilitation over the coming months."

[Featured Image by House Television/AP Images]