Giffords "on track" for return to Congress, says DNC chair

Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.) on ABC's "Good Morning America," May 12, 2011.

Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the newly-elected chair of the Democratic National Committee, said on Thursday she thinks Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) will eventually return to Congress - though she declined to speculate when that might be.

Speaking on ABC's "Good Morning America," Wasserman-Schultz said Giffords, who was severely injured in the Tuscon shooting rampage in January, had made "tremendous progress" in her recovery. She added that she has high hopes for Giffords' political career.

"I do think she's gonna come back to Congress," Wasserman-Schultz said of Giffords. "I mean the progress that she's making, I think that from what I understand, she's on track for that to happen," she said. The DNC chair sais she was "not sure" of the possible timeline.

"I had dinner with her in Houston last Friday and she's beginning to walk now, really doesn't use the wheelchair," the Florida Democrat added in the interview. "[She] is responding in more complex sentences."

"She's making tremendous progress and we're all really proud of her," Wasserman-Schultz added.

Giffords' medical status has been kept tightly under wraps since the shooting, but friends and family members have indicated she has made significant progress in her recovery efforts. She plans to travel to Florida to attend her husband's space shuttle launch in Florida this month.

But her political future remains unclear. In an interview last month, her husband, Mark Kelly, said she would return to politics only if she felt fully confident she could effectively do her job.

"She's not going to do a job, or even attempt to, if she doesn't think she can do it effectively and serve her constituents well," he said. "I'm going to want for her what she wants for her, and I know she's going to set the bar pretty high. So she's going to have to decide what that minimum ability is."

Giffords was shot in the head earlier this year when 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner allegedly opened fire at a community meeting outside of a grocery store. She and 13 others were injured in the attack, and six people were killed.