Paul Ryan, Steve Scalise, Cathy McMorris Rodgers

In a photo from Tuesday, June 13, 2017, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., joined by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., far right, and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., comments on health care for veterans during a news conference at Republican National Committee Headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) ORG XMIT: DCSA102

J. Scott Applewhite

U.S. Majority Whip Steve Scalise remains hospitalized in serious condition but he's been talking — and texting — as he recovers, according to U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan.

During an event hosted by the National Association of Manufacturers on Tuesday, Ryan said that Scalise is "doing a lot better" since he was critically wounded in an ambush shooting last week.

"It's going to take some more surgeries, but he's responding," Ryan said. "He's breathing on his own. He's talking."

"He grabbed somebody's phone and started texting away," Ryan, R-Wisconsin, said with a laugh.

Scalise, a Jefferson Republican who is the third-highest ranking member of the U.S. House, was one of five people injured during the early morning attack June 14.

Gunman James T. Hodgkinson, of Illinois, was killed in a shoot-out with police.

Authorities have been investigating Hodgkinson's social media posts, which expressed support for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and criticism of President Donald Trump and GOP policies.

Scalise, 51, is being treated at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C., where he was airlifted after the shooting.

Dr. Jack Sava, of MedStar Washington Hospital Center, said that Scalise was in "imminent risk of death" when he arrived but has made significant progress. His condition was upgraded over the weekend to serious.

Vice President Mike Pence was one of several elected leaders to take part in a blood drive held at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday in honor of Scalise and the others injured, which include two Capitol Police officers, a congressional aide and a lobbyist. A second blood drive will be held Thursday.

The blood drive was organized by House Chief Deputy Majority Whip Patrick McHenry, R-North Carolina, who has been filling in on Scalise's whip duties in the week since the shooting.

Follow Elizabeth Crisp on Twitter, @elizabethcrisp.