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Rep. Scalise Returns To House After Shooting: 'You Have No Idea How Great This Feels'

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La. made an emotional return to Congress Thursday morning for the first time since he was shot during a baseball practice in June.

"You have no idea how great this feels to be back at work in the people's house," he said, as he addressed a packed House chamber.

Scalise was greeted by a standing ovation and cheers from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. House speaker Paul Ryan said "our prayers have been answered," as he recognized his GOP colleague. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said the same, adding, "Today, we are team Scalise."

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

Scalise was wounded on the morning of June 14th as he took part in a GOP team practice for the charity Congressional Baseball Game at a field in Alexandria, Va. Three others were also shot. Scalise suffered serious internal injuries and was hospitalized for several weeks. His assailant, 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson, died after a gun battle with police.

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 visitors gallery in the chamber, was applauded as Scalise called him "my hero." President Trump awarded 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 and then they did a phenomenal job of rebuilding, you know, kind of the, rebuilding Humpty Dumpty.

Scalise returns to his role in House GOP leadership as majority whip with his party 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."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NPR News' Brian Naylor is a correspondent on the Washington Desk. In this role, he covers politics and federal agencies.