Former Sen. Harry Reid will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol as colleagues and associates pay tribute to a hardscrabble Democrat who rose from poverty in a dusty Nevada mining city to probably the most highly effective position in the U.S. Senate.
Reid will probably be honored Wednesday in the Capitol Rotunda throughout a ceremony closed to the general public beneath COVID-19 protocols. He died final month at 82 after a four-year battle with pancreatic most cancers.
The longest-serving Nevadan in Congress and the Senate majority chief alongside two presidents, Reid helmed the chamber throughout one among its extra consequential legislative periods — securing the financial recovery invoice through the Great Recession and President Barack Obama’s landmark well being care legislation.
President Joe Biden referred to as Reid a “great American,” one who “looked at the challenges of the world and believed it was within our capacity to do good, to do right.”
During a funeral service final weekend in Las Vegas, Biden, Obama and others recalled one among Reid’s best-known traits — abruptly hanging up on folks, even presidents, slightly than shut with prolonged goodbyes.
The few phrases Reid did say have been usually flinty and fiery, the senator unafraid to tackle presidents (he referred to as George W. Bush a “loser”), criticize the fossil gas business (“coal makes us sick”) or declare the warfare in Iraq “lost.” He titled his 2008 autobiography “The Good Fight.”
Influential in retirement, Reid mentioned Biden ought to give his new presidency simply three weeks to attempt to work with Republicans. If not, Biden ought to pressure adjustments in the Senate’s filibuster rules to permit easy majority passage of elections and voting rights laws and different priorities, Reid mentioned.
“The time’s going to come when he’s going to have to move in and get rid of the filibuster,” Reid advised The Associated Press.
Reid was born in the desolate mining city of Searchlight, Nevada, his father a hard-rock miner who later dedicated suicide, his mom doing laundry at residence for bordellos. (He and different youngsters would swim in a brothel’s pool.) Searchlight was a spot, he mentioned, that “had seen its better days.”
The city had no church buildings, his household no faith. But an image of President Franklin D. Roosevelt hanging in the Reid residence would affect his political career.
Reid hitchhiked some 40 miles to attend highschool and joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as he made his means by school and legislation college. An beginner boxer, he as soon as leveled a punch at his future father-in-law after being denied a date with Landra Gould, who would develop into his spouse. They have been married for 62 years.
First elected to the House in 1982 and reelected in 1984, Reid then served 30 years in the Senate, together with a decade because the Senate Democratic chief.
Along the best way, Reid rewrote the map of Nevada by increasing public lands, halting the deliberate Yucca Mountain nuclear waste outdoors of Las Vegas; and securing nationwide monument standing round artist Michael Heizer’s “City” set up in the desert. He quietly ensured federal funding to analysis UFOs.
A person of few phrases, Reid usually wrote notes as an alternative — to household, colleagues and a Nevada scholar advocate who had reached out on immigration legislation adjustments. He championed the Dream Act and Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to shield younger immigrants in the U.S. with out authorized standing from deportation.
As his energy rose, Reid engineered a Democratic legacy for his state with Nevada’s early presidential caucus. He left behind a state social gathering equipment that was typically referred to because the “Reid Machine” for its enduring political energy in search of to elect the following era of Democratic leaders.
After struggling an train accident at residence, and with Democrats again in the Senate minority, Reid introduced he wouldn’t search reelection in 2016.
In his farewell tackle to the Senate, he acknowledged he had finished issues that “probably a lot of people wouldn’t do.” But he handed on his recommendation to these questioning how he made it from Searchlight to Washington.
“I didn’t make it because of my good looks. I didn’t make it because I am a genius. I made it because I worked hard,” Reid mentioned. “Whatever you want to try to do, make sure you work as hard as you can to try to do what you want to do.”