The region's lawmakers are hoping the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords can help bring a new tenor to political discourse on Capitol Hill.
Political rhetoric reached a boiling point during this year's midterm elections. Members of both parties say the inflammatory accusations are unfair but neither party seems willing to give an inch once the other party takes off the gloves.
Maryland Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin says that Gifford's shooting needs to be the wake up call.
"I think what we need to do is tone down the rhetoric here. Words have consequences...We can disagree without destroying our civility. And I think we just all have to be very careful the language we use," Cardin says.
D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton says there may be a silver lining to the tragedy in Arizona.
"Well I can tell you this: Party differences disappear when there's an attack on a member of Congress. People forget whether they're Republicans or Democrats because then we understand we are all part of the same brotherhood or sisterhood," Norton says.
A vote initially scheduled this week to repeal the new health care law has been postponed, but when it hits the House floor later in the session, observers say it promises to test the civility of both parties.