Just after 2:00 pm ET on the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Rhode Island Rep. Jim Langevin (D) was at the House chamber rostrum as the first disabled member of Congress to preside over the floor.
Aides say the big, leather chair was removed so Langevin's wheelchair can fit. House woodworking shop crafted a smaller gavel for him. The gavel was attached to his hand with a specially made strap.
Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D) offered congratulations and lead the Pledge. Speaker Pelosi also offered her congratulations and commented on how the five-term congressman deserved the chance to lead the House like all other members, and today he is able to do that for the first time.