Mark Kirk Returns to Senate To Applause From Colleagues

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 03: Nearly a year after suffering an major stroke, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) (R) is escorted by the Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance Gainer as Kirk marks his return to the Senate by walking up the steps to the Senate door at the U.S. Capitol January 3, 2013 in Washington, DC. Kirk has spent the last 10 months learning to walk again after suffering a stroke on January 23, 2012. Credit: Getty Images

WASHINGTON (AP/TheBlaze) — Nearly a year after a debilitating stroke, Sen. Mark Kirk is back at work in the Senate.

The Illinois Republican climbed the steps of the Capitol on Thursday and claimed his Senate seat.

Kirk was greeted at the foot of the Capitol steps by Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday. Biden and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia were at Kirk’s side as Kirk used a four-pronged cane to climb the 45 steps.

You can see video of Kirk climbing the steps below, courtesy of Talking Points Memo:

He earned rousing applause from fellow senators, the Illinois congressional delegation and others.

Kirk waved and smiled. He paused several times to greet well-wishers.

During his recovery from the stroke, the senator endured an intensive, experimental rehabilitation regimen that is often compared with military boot camp because of its intensity.