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WATCH: Capitol Hill welcomes home GOP Whip Steve Scalise
GOP Majority Whip Steve Scalise (La.) captured the attention of colleagues on both sides of the aisle Thursday when he returned to the Capitol for the first time since he was shot during a Congressional baseball practice in mid-June.
"I was transfixed on a man who needed a little bit of help getting into the chamber who'd never needed that before," Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) said in an interview with The Hill shortly after Scalise spoke on a crowded House floor.
Scalise made his entrance on crutches.
Dozens of reporters, photographers and producers waited for nearly two hours on the other side of two velvet ropes clearing an aisle in Statuary Hall inside the Capitol to capture Scalise's slow-but-steady walk back to his Capitol Hill offices.
Tourists cheered as Scalise put one blue sneaker in front of the other, flanked by security and his wife Jennifer, making his way through the old House chamber, which is approximately 50-yards from the current House chamber, to his office suites.
"It was good when he called me this morning and said 'Hey, I'm coming back," Scalise's close friend, Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), told The Hill. "And I said, 'darn, so soon?'"
Scalise's return will have a practical impact for the GOP as the party attempts to pass a fix on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, government funding bill and tax reform. He functions in part as their vote-counter.
"Maybe we'll send him over to the Senate to whip them into shape," freshman Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) joked, in a nod to Scalise's skill at winning votes for legislation.
Watch the video above to hear the lawmakers in their own words.