What will John Boehner say to Gabrielle Giffords?

This has the potential to create a bit of an awkward moment for Speaker John Boehner, as he weighs whether to allow a House vote on whatever gun legislation clears the Senate.

In a few days, on April 16th, Boehner and Nancy Pelosi will be presiding over a ceremony dedicating the creation of the Gabriel Zimmerman Meeting Room in the U.S. Capitol, according to an invitation to the event that’s making the rounds. Zimmerman was the community outreach director to Giffords when he was killed in the January 2011 shooting in Arizona that almost claimed Giffords’ life.

Giffords will be attending the event, too: She will be side by side with Boehner as lawmakers pay their respects to the Congressional aide who was killed at the age of 30 along with five others, including a nine-year-old girl.

Giffords, of course, has embarked on a crusade on behalf of Obama’s gun proposals, along with her astronaut husband, Mark Kelly. In the days ahead, she’ll be pushing for an up or down vote on the proposals in the Senate and a vote on them in the House.

The proximity of Boehner and Giffords to one another will surely raise a question in the minds of some reporters: What is Boehner’s response to Giffords’ request for a vote? What will the Speaker say to one of Congress’ own who came so close to dying from gun violence and just wants her former colleagues to hold simple majority votes on solutions designed to slow the carnage?

Boehner was deeply moved by the shooting of Giffords. When Giffords triumphantly returned to the Capitol for a visit early last year, the Speaker embraced her and held her hand before breaking down in tears as colleagues broke out in wild applause. You can watch video of that moment right here.

Giffords, having battled her way back against tremendous odds from the threshold of death, now wants Boehner and her former colleagues to hold a vote on proposals designed to slow the killing. What will Boehner say to her? Perhaps reporters will ask him.

 

Greg Sargent writes The Plum Line blog, a reported opinion blog with a liberal slant -- what you might call “opinionated reporting” from the left.
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Greg Sargent | April 11, 2013