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Harry Reid: 4 things to know about the late Senate majority leader

Harry Reid
Then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., answers questions following the weekly Democratic policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol September 16, 2014, in Washington, D.C. |

Former United States Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has died at the age of 82, making him the latest of several established political figures to pass away this year.  

Reid, who represented the state of Nevada in the Senate for three decades, died Tuesday after a four-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Reid served as Senate majority leader from 2007 to 2015. Additionally, he served as the Senate minority leader from 2005 to 2007 and again from 2015 to 2017.

Reid opted not to seek a sixth term in office in 2016 and was replaced by fellow Democrat Catherine Cortez-Masto. While Reid was beloved by progressives and criticized by conservatives in his later years, politicians on both sides of the aisle issued statements following the news of Reid’s death Tuesday.

President Joe Biden, who served alongside Reid in the Senate for more than two decades, released a statement Tuesday praising Reid for “getting things done for the good of the country.” Biden’s reflection on Reid’s career as Senate majority leader specifically focused on actions he took during the Obama-Biden administration: “Harry helped pass the Recovery Act to prevent another Great Depression. He helped rescue the American auto industry.”

“He helped pass the Affordable Care Act and Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform, ended Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and ratified the New Start Treaty,” Biden added. In a presidential proclamation Wednesday, Biden ordered U.S. flags to “be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories” in addition to embassies and military outposts abroad.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who served in that role during Reid’s eight years as Senate majority leader and replaced Reid as majority leader when Republicans took control of the Senate in 2015, also mourned the loss of a “dedicated public servant and truly one-of-a-kind U.S. Senator” in a statement.

While he noted that “the nature of Harry’s and my jobs brought us into frequent and sometimes intense conflict over politics and policy,” McConnell explained that “I never doubted that Harry was doing what he earnestly, deeply felt was right for Nevada and our country.”

“When Harry retired from the Senate, we both celebrated the fact that our many differences had never really gotten personal. Harry’s and my paths in the Senate were roughly parallel. We seemed to reach each institutional milestone within just a few years of each other. I truly appreciated the sincere and cordial relationship we shared behind the scenes when passions cooled.”

Reid is one of several notable politicians to have died in 2021, along with former Sens. Bob Dole, R-Kan., Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Carl Levin, D-Mich., and former Secretary of State Colin Powell. Here are four things to know about the late Senate leader.

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

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