* 12:51 pm - Thanks to a commenter for the Tribune link…
U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, who suffered a stroke in January, plans to return to the Senate floor on 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.”