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A madman’s bullets put a partisan Congress on the same team — at least for a while

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There was an eerie silence in the House chamber when the gavel fell to open Wednesday morning’s session.

This was supposed to be the time for “morning-hour” speeches, those short partisan jabs and one-liners. But not a single lawmaker was on the floor, the brown-leather benches and speakers’ tables all empty. Without even the invocation or the pledge, the speaker pro tempore immediately declared the still chamber in recess.

The partisan guns had been silenced by a real one. Not three hours earlier, a would-be assassin critically wounded Steve Scalise, the House majority whip, and injured four others on a baseball field before falling to police bullets. In an instant, members of Congress were transformed from Democrats and Republicans into Americans — and humans. Reminded suddenly of their own mortality, they remembered, too, that their opponents are people.

Democrats at their baseball practice — the two teams were preparing separately Wednesday morning for Thursday night’s Congressional Baseball Game — gathered in their dugout upon hearing the news and bowed their heads in prayer for their Republican colleagues.

When the House reconvened at noon, Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) looked stunned as........

© Washington Post