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Members of Congress unveil resolution to honor slain staffer

A bipartisan group of House members today unveiled a resolution to honor Gabe Zimmerman, the congressional staffer who was killed during the Arizona shooting that seriously wounded Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ).

Both Zimmerman’s mother and brother, Ben, spoke.

Ben -- who took multiple moments to compose himself -- said this of his brother as the room went silent: "He was a committed, committed congressional staff member who approached his job with openness and kindness… What he taught me in that short time was that small acts of kindness make a tremendous difference."

If the House passes the resolution, it would rename one of the rooms in the Congressional Visitor Center after Zimmerman. The Republican-controlled House so far has shunned ceremonial resolutions, but this measure’s bipartisan support could help it find its way to the floor. It is co-sponsored by Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and David Schweikert (R-AZ) -- along with other members of the Arizona delegation who are hoping to work it in as an amendment to the legislative branch’s appropriations bill.

Both Schweikert and Wasserman Schultz said that naming the room in honor of Zimmerman was also a way to honor all congressional staffers. "This distinction would recognize the devoted service of not only Gabe, but also of the thousands of staffers in the Capitol and around this country who work for and have worked for the people of the United States by working for the United States Congress," Wasserman Schultz said.

Zimmerman's mother added, "It's right to honor Gabe here at the Capitol, where Congress is charged with responding to the needs of those people that stood in that line at that grocery store and to all Americans by crafting our nation's laws."

And with the backdrop of the acrimony of the current debt ceiling talks, Gabe's brother left the podium with this thought: "I hope Gabe's memory will serve to honor those congressional staff workers. Let the negativity of politics roll off of them with grace and a smile, and instead focus their energy on service to their communities and compassion to their constituents."