Congressional leaders urge unity in call to members on Gabrielle Giffords shooting
Updated: 8:30 p.m.
Some 800 Republican and Democratic Congress members and spouses took part in an extraordinary conference call Sunday in which party leaders pleaded for everyone to come together in the wake of the shooting in Tucson that targeted Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.)
"At a time when an individual has shown us humanity at its worst, we must rise to the occasion for our nation and show Congress at its best," new Speaker John Boehner (R-Oh.) told the group during a call that lasted more than an hour, according to a statement released by his office. "This is a time for the House to pull together as an institution -- one body, unified in our common purpose of serving the American people and fighting for the freedom and justice guaranteed to all by our Constitution."
It was a joint call for both party caucuses; another such call is scheduled for Wednesday.
Among those who spoke were House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.); Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.); Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.); sergeant at arms William Livingood, who briefed on security; and representatives from the FBI and Giffords's staff.
The group was briefed in detail on Giffords' condition. She was among 20 shot in the incident. Six were killed. Members were also told on the call that Dr. Brian Monahan, attending physician of United States Congress, was heading to Arizona.
Although there are no planned votes this week, Cantor encouraged members to return to Congress for prayers and security briefing.
| January 9, 2011; 3:08 PM ET
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