Democrats give Rep. Giffords ranking member spot on Science subcommittee

Democrats on the House Science Committee voted to give Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) the ranking member position on the panel’s space subcommittee Tuesday.

Giffords was shot in the head on Jan. 8 when a gunman opened fire on a crowd in Tucson, Ariz., killing 6 people and injuring 13 others, including Giffords.

Giffords is recovering in a rehabilitation facility in Houston. During her recovery, Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Ill.) will serve as the acting ranking Democrat on the subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics.

“Congresswoman Giffords has been a stalwart in working to sustain and enhance the nation’s civil space and aeronautics programs,” committee ranking member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) said in a statement Tuesday. “I fully expect her to continue her strong leadership on those issues when she returns to Congress.”

The subcommittee will deal with issues that Giffords knows well, as her husband, Mark Kelly, is an astronaut. Kelly is still deciding whether he will train for a scheduled space flight in April.

Giffords served as chairwoman of the committee in the last Congress.