01/19/2011 12:29 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Debbie Wasserman Schultz Invokes Tucson Hero's Plea To Defend Health Care Reform

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), a close friend of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and one of the most outspoken legislators regarding the tragedy in Arizona, said Wednesday that one of the heroes of the shooting in Tucson was opposed to the House GOP's effort to repeal health care reform, and that others should stand with her in resistance to the measure.

"Normally I would step to a microphone like this and tell a story about the impact that decision might have on a constituent in my district," Wasserman Schultz said at a press briefing, according to Talking Points Memo. "Instead what I'm going to do is share with you what Pat Maisch -- who was the hero who dropped the second magazine out of the gunman's hand during the tragedy in Tucson -- what she planned to say to Gabby Giffords when she was waiting on line to talk to her."

Wasserman Schultz explained that Maisch had told her she wanted to see the health care overhaul signed into law last year maintained, and asked the Democratic congresswoman to do everything she could to ensure that it was given a chance to be fully implemented. She also lamented what she saw as the aggressive tone that Republicans had adopted in combatting the legislation, TPM reports.

"Heed the words of Pat Maisch, heed the words of millions needing health care," Wasserman Schultz said in defense of health care reform on the floor of the House later Wednesday morning, according to The New York Times.

A House vote on the Republican repeal legislation is expected later Wednesday.