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‘Man of motion, man of his phrase’: allies and opponents keep in mind late Senate chief Harry Reid

‘Man of motion, man of his phrase’: allies and opponents keep in mind late Senate chief Harry Reid

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former presidents and ex-Senate colleagues are lauding longtime Majority Chief Harry Reid, who died Tuesday, for a political legacy that included an growth of medical health insurance protection for thousands and thousands of People and for serving to safe an financial support bundle and banking overhaul following the 2008 monetary disaster.

They’re additionally recalling a politician whose blunt and combative phrases usually antagonized his political rivals, and typically his allies. The Nevada Democrat’s abrupt model was typified by his behavior of unceremoniously hanging up the cellphone with out saying goodbye.

READ MORE: Harry Reid cherished to struggle. He additionally cherished to make offers.

Reid, 82, died at dwelling in Henderson, Nevada, of issues from pancreatic most cancers, in response to Landra Reid, his spouse of 62 years.

President Joe Biden mentioned in a proclamation that the U.S. flag will likely be flown at half-staff on the White Home and different federal buildings on the day of Reid’s internment. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak issued the same order for his state. Reid’s household has not but introduced memorial service plans.

Biden known as Reid one of many nice Senate majority leaders within the nation’s historical past.

“He was a person of motion, and a person of his phrase — guided by religion, loyalty, and unshakeable resolve,” Biden mentioned within the proclamation.

Over a 34-year profession in Washington, Reid thrived on behind-the-scenes wrangling. He served as majority chief through the presidency of a Republican, George W. Bush and a Democrat, Barack Obama, a chaotic interval that included a crippling recession and the Republican takeover of the Home after the 2010 elections.

Reid retired in 2016 after an accident left him blind in a single eye. He introduced in Might 2018 that he had been recognized with pancreatic most cancers and was being handled.

In lots of respects, his legacy is tied to that of Obama’s. In a letter to Reid earlier than Reid’s loss of life, Obama mentioned he wouldn’t have been president with out Reid’s assist.

“As totally different as we’re, I feel we each noticed one thing of ourselves in one another — a few outsiders who had defied the percentages and knew easy methods to take a punch and cared concerning the little man,” Obama mentioned.

Republicans cited Reid’s toughness and tenacity, whereas additionally noting they disagreed with him on many points.

“The character of Harry’s and my jobs introduced us into frequent and typically intense battle over politics and coverage,” mentioned Senate Republican chief Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. “However I by no means doubted that Harry was at all times doing what he earnestly, deeply felt was proper for Nevada and our nation.”

Former Home Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, mentioned he and Reid “disagreed on many issues, typically famously. However we had been at all times trustworthy with one another. Within the years after we left public service, that honesty turned a bond.”

Reid was born in Searchlight, Nevada. His father was an alcoholic who died by suicide at 58. His mom was a laundress in a bordello, Reid grew up in a small cabin with out indoor plumbing. He hitchhiked to Primary Excessive Faculty in Henderson about 40 miles (64 kilometers) from dwelling, and that’s the place he met the spouse. At Utah State College, the couple turned members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The long run senator put himself by way of George Washington College regulation faculty within the District of Columbia by working nights as a U.S. Capitol police officer.

At 28, Reid was elected to the Nevada Meeting. At 30, he turned the youngest lieutenant governor in Nevada historical past.

Elected to the U.S. Home in 1982, Reid served in Congress longer than anybody in Nevada historical past.

After his election as Senate majority chief in 2007, he was credited with placing Nevada on the political map by pushing to maneuver the state’s caucuses to February, initially of presidential nominating season.

Reid steered a whole lot of thousands and thousands of {dollars} to Nevada and was credited with virtually single-handedly blocking development of a nuclear waste storage facility at Yucca Mountain outdoors Las Vegas.

Reid’s political moderation meant he was by no means politically safe in his dwelling state or completely trusted within the more and more polarized Senate. Democrats grumbled about his votes for a ban on so-called partial-birth abortion and the Iraq Battle decision in 2002, one thing Reid later mentioned it was his largest remorse in Congress.

He additionally voted in opposition to most gun management payments. In 2013, after the Sandy Hook Elementary Faculty bloodbath in Connecticut, he dropped a proposed ban on assault weapons from the Democrats’ gun management laws. The bundle, he mentioned, wouldn’t move with the ban connected.

Reid’s Senate significantly irritated members of the Home, each Republicans and Democrats. When then-Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., muscled Obama’s well being care overhaul by way of the Home in 2009, a special model handed the Senate and the reconciliation course of floundered lengthy sufficient for Republicans to show it into an election-year weapon. They used to demonize Pelosi forged the laws as a big-government energy seize. Obama signed the measure into regulation in March 2010.

However voters, angered by the recession and impressed by the small-government tea occasion, quickly swept Democrats from their Home majority.

Reid additionally took motion in 2013 to alter the Senate’s filibuster guidelines and decrease the brink for development to 51 votes for many govt and judicial nominees, however not Supreme Courtroom picks.

McConnell went additional when Republicans had been within the majority, reducing it to 51 votes for Supreme Courtroom nominees, too, and enabling Republicans to put in three of President Donald Trump’s excessive court docket decisions over Democratic objections.

In his last months, Reid spoke in favor of eliminating the filibuster altogether, calling the Senate a “legislative graveyard” and not a deliberative physique.

“The filibuster has develop into an anti-democratic weapon wielded by the minority to silence the need of the folks,” he wrote within the Las Vegas Solar.

Kellman, an Related Press author now in Jerusalem, coated Congress for the AP throughout Reid’s time as Senate majority chief. Ritter reported from Las Vegas. Related Press writers Michelle L. Value in New York and Scott Sonner in Reno, Nevada, contributed to this report.

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