Before lawmakers get back to the business of arguing about taxes, deficits and other issues as they open a new session of Congress today, there was just a nice moment outside the Capitol.
Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., who suffered a stroke last Jan. 21, came to the Capitol for the first time since then. And as C-SPAN cameras watched, he made a very public return — slowly walking up the steps of the Capitol with assistance from Vice President Biden and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va.
Kirk, 53, was cheered on by other members of Congress, including his Democratic colleague from Illinois, Sen. Richard Durbin.
As The Associated Press wrote earlier this week, Kirk's climb up those steps was:
"Significant not just for Illinois' junior senator, but also for medical researchers and hundreds of thousands of stroke patients. It's estimated only one-third of patients return to work after a stroke, said Dr. Elliot Roth, medical director of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago's New Patient Recovery Unit and AbilityLab, where Kirk recovered. ... The Illinois senator's return will be inspiring to fellow stroke patients, said Frank Watson, the former Republican leader of the Illinois Senate who resigned from office after his 2008 stroke. 'For us in the stroke fraternity, we're very happy to see this occur, to see somebody taking their life back,' Watson said. 'There are so many people who don't make it back.' "