Monday January 17th, 2022 2:18PM
12:00AM ( 14 hours ago ) News Alert
3:00PM ( 1 day ago ) Weather Alert

Former Senate leader Harry Reid lies in state at Capitol

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Sen. Harry Reid lay in state Wednesday in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda as colleagues and friends gathered to pay tribute to a hardscrabble Democrat who rose from poverty in a dusty Nevada mining town to the most powerful position in the U.S. Senate.

The casket carrying Reid arrived at the Capitol as senators and others began filing into the Capitol Rotunda for a ceremony closed to the public under COVID-19 protocols. Reid died last month at 82 after a four-year battle with pancreatic cancer.

The longest-serving Nevadan in Congress and the Senate majority leader alongside two presidents, Reid helmed the chamber during one of its more consequential legislative sessions — securing the economic recovery bill during the Great Recession and President Barack Obama’s landmark health care law.

President Joe Biden called 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.”

The Democratic leaders, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, are among those expected to speak at the tribute.

During a funeral service last weekend in Las Vegas, Biden, Obama and others recalled one of Reid’s best-known traits — abruptly hanging up on people, even presidents, rather than close with lengthy goodbyes.

The few words Reid did say were often flinty and fiery, the senator unafraid to take on presidents (he called George W. Bush a “loser”), criticize the fossil fuel industry (“coal makes us sick”) or declare the war in Iraq “lost.” He titled his 2008 autobiography “The Good Fight.”

Influential in retirement, Reid said Biden should give his new presidency just three weeks to try to work with Republicans. If not, Biden should force changes in the Senate’s filibuster rules to allow simple majority passage of elections and voting rights legislation and other priorities, Reid said.

"The time’s going to come when he’s going to have to move in and get rid of the filibuster,” Reid told The Associated Press.

Reid was born in the desolate mining town of Searchlight, Nevada, his father a hard-rock miner who later committed suicide, his mother doing laundry at home for bordellos. (He and other kids would swim in a brothel's pool.) Searchlight was a place, he said, that “had seen its better days.”

The town had no churches, his family no religion. But a picture of President Franklin D. Roosevelt hanging in the Reid home would influence his political career.

Reid hitchhiked some 40 miles to attend high school and joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as he made his way through college and law school. An amateur boxer, he once leveled a punch at his future father-in-law after being denied a date with Landra Gould, who would become his wife. They were married for 62 years.

First elected to the House in 1982 and reelected in 1984, Reid then served 30 years in the Senate, including a decade as the Senate Democratic leader.

Along the way, Reid rewrote the map of Nevada by expanding public lands, halting the planned Yucca Mountain nuclear waste outside of Las Vegas; and securing national monument status around artist Michael Heizer’s “City” installation in the desert. He quietly ensured federal funding to research UFOs.

A man of few words, Reid often wrote notes instead — to family, colleagues and a Nevada student advocate who had reached out on immigration law changes. He championed the Dream Act and Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to protect young immigrants in the U.S. without legal status from deportation.

As his power rose, Reid engineered a Democratic legacy for his state with Nevada’s early presidential caucus. He left behind a state party apparatus that was sometimes referred to as the “Reid Machine” for its enduring political power seeking to elect the next generation of Democratic leaders.

After suffering an exercise accident at home, and with Democrats back in the Senate minority, Reid announced he would not seek reelection in 2016.

In his farewell address to the Senate, he acknowledged he had done things that “probably a lot of people wouldn’t do.” But he passed on his advice to those wondering 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 said. “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.”

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Business
© Copyright 2022
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Former Senate leader Harry Reid lies in state at Capitol
The casket of former Sen. Harry Reid is lying in state at the U.S. Capitol as colleagues and friends gather to pay tribute to a hardscrabble Democrat who served five terms in the Senate and rose to be majority leader
11:04AM ( 4 minutes ago )
No Ukraine breakthrough, but NATO, Russia eye more talks
The U.S. and NATO have rejected key Russian security demands for easing tensions over Ukraine
10:57AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Giuffre's Prince Andrew suit goes ahead despite Epstein deal
A judge has given the green light to a lawsuit by an American woman who says Prince Andrew sexually abused her when she was 17
10:54AM ( 14 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Anti-vaccine protesters try to storm Bulgarian parliament
Protesters opposing COVID-19 restrictions in Bulgaria have clashed with police as they were trying to storm the Parliament in Sofia
9:43AM ( 1 hour ago )
German president calls for debate over COVID vaccine mandate
Germany’s president has called for a debate over plans for compulsory coronavirus vaccinations in the country, saying such a drastic measure needs to be thoroughly justified
8:36AM ( 2 hours ago )
UK's Johnson faces Parliament test over lockdown party claim
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing a high-stakes showdown in Parliament that could help defuse a crisis over claims that he and his staff held broke coronavirus lockdown rules — or fan the flames even further
5:50AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Senate passes bill to honor Emmett Till and his mother
The Senate has passed a bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal posthumously to Emmett Till, the Chicago teenager murdered by white supremacists in the 1950s, and his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley
8:10PM ( 14 hours ago )
Jan. 6 committee subpoenas Trump aide, 2 GOP strategists
The House panel investigating the U.S. Capitol insurrection is demanding records and testimony from a former White House aide they say helped draft former President Donald Trump’s Jan. 6 speech, along with two others it says were in communication with people close to Trump
7:09PM ( 15 hours ago )
Bank of America slashes fees for account overdrafts
Bank of America is slashing the amount it charges customers when they spend more than they have in their accounts and plans to eliminate entirely its fees for bounced checks
6:52PM ( 16 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Stocks rise as inflation report keeps Fed on track for hikes
Stocks are opening higher after the latest report of surging prices appeared to keep the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates later this year
9:48AM ( 1 hour ago )
NATO, Russia eye more high-level talks despite tensions
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the military organization and Russia have agreed to try to schedule more meetings despite tensions over Moscow’s military buildup near Ukraine
9:43AM ( 1 hour ago )
Biogen tumbles after Medicare lays out Aduhelm coverage plan
Shares of Biogen tumbled Wednesday, a day after regulators slapped strict limitations on coverage the drugmaker’s new Alzheimer’s disease treatment
9:37AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
No Ukraine breakthrough, but NATO, Russia eye more talks
The U.S. and NATO have rejected key Russian security demands for easing tensions over Ukraine
10:57AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Giuffre's Prince Andrew suit goes ahead despite Epstein deal
A judge has given the green light to a lawsuit by an American woman who says Prince Andrew sexually abused her when she was 17
10:54AM ( 14 minutes ago )
Liberals in EU parliament seek inquiry on abuse of spyware
The third-largest group in the European Parliament has called for the establishment of a committee to investigate abuses by European Union governments with powerful spyware produced by Israel’s NSO Group
10:35AM ( 33 minutes ago )
Will Smith, Lady Gaga, Ben Affleck score SAG nominations
Will Smith, Lady Gaga and Ben Affleck landed individual nominations for the 28th Screen Actors Guild Awards on Wednesday, while the casts of “Belfast” and “CODA” were among those nominated for the guild’s top award, best ensemble
10:27AM ( 41 minutes ago )
Spain doctors win suit for lack of protection from COVID-19
Spain’s medical community has scored a victory after a court ordered that a regional government compensate doctors with up to 49,000 euros ($56,000) for having to work without personal protection suits during the devastating early months of the pandemic
10:17AM ( 51 minutes ago )