By Katherine Skiba
2:54 PM EST, December 6, 2012
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Mark Steven Kirk, the Illinois Republican who suffered a stroke in January, plans to return to the Senate floor Jan. 3, the first day of the new Congress, Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) said Thursday.
A Senate official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the return date and said it would be marked by a “significant event” with Kirk walking up the Capitol steps to the chamber.
Hultgren said there were plans for a “big party and celebration when he comes back,” and that lawmakers from Illinois may gather in or near the Senate chamber to welcome him.
“I’m just really excited,” he said. “ I’m so grateful for the recovery he’s been able to make.”
Hultgren said he had not visited with Kirk, but had talked to him a few times on the phone.
Aides to Kirk had no immediate comment.
On Nov. 4, the 53-year-old Kirk climbed 37 floors of Chicago’s Willis Tower during a fundraiser for the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, where he is being treated.
Kirk, from Highland Park, later told reporters he planned to return to Washington in January, without specifying a date. He served almost 10 years in the House before being elected to the Senate in 2010.
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