Nearly a year after suffering a debilitating stroke, Sen. Mark Kirk (center) walked the 45 steps up the Capitol on Thursday and reclaimed his seat in the U.S. Senate on the first day of the 113th Congress. The Illinois Republican was greeted at the foot of the Capitol steps by an open-armed Vice President Joe Biden (left). With Biden and Sen. Joe Manchin (right), D-W. Va., at his side, and clutching a four-prong cane, Kirk climbed the steps to the Capitol's entrance to rousing applause from Senate colleagues, the Illinois congressional delegation and Capitol staff. Kirk, 53, waved and smiled, pausing several times to greet well-wishers. "Feels great," he said, walking through the door.