Politics

Steve Scalise Presides Over First Whip Meeting Since Shooting

Deputies say he has not missed a beat

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and his wife Jennifer, walk through the Capitol’s Statuary Hall on September 28, 2017, his first day back on the Hill after being injured in the shooting at the Republican baseball practice in June. On Monday, Scalise was back at work, leading the weekly whip meeting. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

After his emotional return to the Capitol last week, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise showed up to work Monday ready to jump right back into his leadership role.

Scalise led the weekly whip team meeting that for the past few months had been run by his deputy, Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina.

The Louisiana Republican had been calling into a few meetings but was not present for any day-to-day decisions since he was shot during congressional baseball practice on June 14.

Like during his floor speech on Thursday, Scalise offered his thanks Monday to those that helped him through a trying and ongoing recovery. His colleagues on the whip team applauded his return and expression of appreciation for the work they did while he was away.

McHenry told Roll Call it was great to see Scalise return and take the whip meeting back over but said they’ve always worked seamlessly together and will continue to do so.

“It’s really an answer to prayers that he’s back healthy,” he said. “This is an emotional moment for all of us in the House, but especially those of us who work closely with him. And to see him excited to get back in the fray is really encouraging.”

The North Carolina Republican said he had been wearing a fleur-de-lis, the official state symbol of Louisiana, that he gave to Scalise Monday.

“I said, ‘It’s going to be much better now because it’s awkward to explain this to North Carolinians,’” McHenry said.

Members said they had expected Scalise to be a little a little rusty on the state of congressional affairs but he quickly dispelled that notion.

“He’s absolutely back,” Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart said exiting the whip team meeting. “It’s like he hasn’t even been gone. He’s on top of every issue. He has the same attitude as always, just energy and passion.”

It was like Scalise had not been away, the Florida Republican added, saying the energy, enthusiasm and knowledge he displayed Monday was “remarkable.”

Texas GOP Rep. Roger Williams said Scalise hadn’t skipped a beat and was ready to work.

“He talked about the fact that we’ve got to move forward, we’ve got some things happening,” Williams said. “We’ve got a budget ahead of us, we’ve got tax reform, and it’s time to get things done.”

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