Washington pauses, health care debate postponed after Giffords shooting

WASHINGTON — The attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords that resulted in six dead and many more critically wounded has ground the House of Representatives to a halt this week, postponing what was to have been a very contentious debate over health care.

Rep. Betty McCollum, for one, canceled a planned press conference in opposition to the Republican health care reform repeal and will instead hold office hours at her St. Paul office where she and visitors will write messages of support to victims of the shooting.

All of Washington will pause today at 10 a.m. Central time for a moment of silence in the victims’ honor. The president, who asked for the moment, will mark the occasion on the South Lawn of the White House, while the Supreme Court, in a rare move, changed its schedule to accommodate the reflective moment.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor also postponed all floor action for one week in light of the tragedy. On Wednesday, lawmakers were to have considered a bill repealing the health care reform law (a law Giffords supported when it passed last year). Instead, there will be a simple resolution honoring Giffords and the other victims.

The repeal bill has not yet been rescheduled. But it will be.

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