Washington on hold in wake of tragedy in Tucson

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email

Washington, D.C. (WWBT) - Although the tragedy in Tucson happened thousands of miles away, it is impacting the entire country. The U.S. Congress is at a standstill while leaders attempt to figure out what their next step should be.

When asked, just about every member of congress says they want to get back to work "as soon as possible".  But no one can seem to give a firm idea as to when things on Capitol Hill will get back to normal.

It is as if someone hit the pause button on Washington, D.C.  Members of congress and their staff are still reeling from several of their own being gunned down.

"Obviously all of us are very shaken by this," said Henrico Congressman Eric Cantor. "The country has been shaken."

Cantor, who also serves as House Majority Leader, observed a moment of silence from his district office in Henrico County. He has shut down all activity in the House of Representatives as the legislature attempts to get some grasp of what went wrong.

"I think the signal that is being sent is that all of us need to focus on how we best move and lead in a responsible way to solve the problems of this country," Cantor said.

Meanwhile, those charged with protecting members of congress, like Senate Sergeant At Arms Terrance Gainer are sifting through threats, and figuring out what do next.

"There have been many calls about what's the next best step to take," said Gainer. "We are working with them on their events and determining what additional law enforcement steps need to be taken if any."

The security of rank and file members is something that Congressional leaders like Cantor are willing to keep in the hands of those responsible.

"They are actively responding to inquiries and they are interested in providing members with whatever they need," he said.

Meanwhile, the rest of Washington, waits and mourns the loss of those who they worked with closely, and prays for the full recovery of Congresswoman Giffords.

And the vast majority of the Virginia congressional delegation chose to spend today back home in their districts, connecting with their local constituents and staff.

At this point important pieces of legislation like a vote on the repeal of health care are on hold.

To see an extended clip of Congressman Cantor's remarks, visit our political blog: DecisionVirginia.com.

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