President Barack Obama's State of the Union address is tonight, and however briefly, it's now marked by a spirit of bipartisanship in the congressional audience. Since the shooting that injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., last year, members of Congress have made it a tradition to reach across the aisle to sit with their counterparts from the other party during the annual address.
In that spirit, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, and Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Winter Garden, will sit together tonight. Wasserman Schultz also said she has invited one of her constituents, 2nd Lt. Brittany Ramos, to watch the address.
UPDATE: A spokeswoman for Wasserman Schultz said the congresswoman will be escorting her friend Giffords into the House of Representatives. Giffords, who is resigning from Congress this week to focus on her recovery, will be making one of her final public appearances as a congresswoman.
Ramos graduated last May from the University of Miami, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army. She is assigned to the 841stEngineer Battalion Forward Support Company, under the 926th Engineer Brigade, 412th Theater Engineer Command. In February, Ramos will be deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. Her platoon will be responsible for vehicle recovery and maintenance, as well as partnering with the Afghan National Army to assist in combat and construction mission training.
While visiting Washington D.C., Wasserman Schultz said Ramos will tour the White House and Capitol buildings before attending the speech.
"Our brave women and men in uniform proudly perform one of the toughest jobs in America -– protecting our freedom, while often risking their own lives in the process," Wasserman Schultz said, calling Ramos "an inspiring example of the importance of public service to our country."
"I applaud her for all her hard work and know that she will make the United States proud as she serves overseas," Wasserman Schultz said.
Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio also will be sitting together. No Labels, a group that promotes bipartisanship, has compiled a list of all the bipartisan pair-ups for tonight's address.