Rep. Gabrielle Giffords returned to the House of Representatives on Monday, receiving a standing ovation and enthusiastically greeting her colleagues after casting her vote (her first since being shot in January) for the debt ceiling bill, which passed 269-161.

After the voting, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi paid tribute to the congresswoman in a short speech. Not a bad way to cap off what was otherwise the most embarrassing and excruciating political process in recent memory, huh? (Unless you think she's being cynically used by the Democratic leadership—but, c'mon, Joe Biden showed up just to give her a hug! )

And speaking of the embarrassing and excruciating in our politics: The Senate could vote on the bill as early as tonight.

[MSNBC]