U.S. House Speaker John Boehner postponed this week’s legislative agenda that includes a health care repeal and an anti-abortion provider funding bill to heal a shaken Congress after the Saturday shooting of one of its own.
Boehner expressed words of sympathy and condolences to the families of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who is in critical condition, and U.S. District Judge John M. Roll, who was killed, as a result of a gunman opening fire on a crowd attending a political event outside a supermarket in Tucson, Ariz. The new Speaker of the House announced Sunday that most regularly scheduled legislative action in the House of Representative will be suspended this week.
“This inhuman act should not and will not deter us from our calling to represent our constituents,” said Boehner on Sunday morning. “No act…must be allowed to stop us from our duty.”
Among the bill that will be postponed is the one regarding Title X abortion funding and the health care repeal bill. The health care bill has already created friction between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats have promised in a letter to block the bill in the U.S. Senate.
Giffords and at least 20 others were shot during a constituent meeting at a Tuscon Safeway. Giffords, who had been re-elected last year for a third term in Congress, appears to have been the main target.
Of those shot, six were killed. Among the dead is federal judge Roll, who attended the meeting after Catholic mass to thank Giffords. Roll was appointed to office by President George H.W. Bush. Also killed was a 9-year-old girl.
The gun man, 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, has been arrested. A second suspect is sought in connection to the shooting.
Newly-elected Rep. Raul Labrador(R-Idaho) praised Giffords on NBC Sunday television program Meet the Press for doing her job for reaching out to voters. Labrador said this event has prompted some high hopes for the future. “I just hope that we can have some civility, and we can move forward,” he shared.
Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) thanked Boehner on the show for his decision to halt this week’s legislative agenda.
“I think that this was the right move. This was not the week for us to go into a seven-hour debate that is very divisive, but I think as soon as we come back, we need to get back to the business of the people,” he commented.