President Biden and former President Barack Obama gathered among Democratic leaders across the country to honor the late Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in a Las Vegas memorial service Saturday.
Both memorialized the outsized impact the Nevada Democrat had on the country over a career that spanned three decades.
“Let there be no doubt. Harry Reid will be considered one of the greatest Senate majority leaders in history,” Mr. Biden said.
Mr. Reid, 82, died Dec. 28 at his home in Henderson, Nevada after a four-year battle with pancreatic cancer.
“The thing about Harry, He never gave up. He never gave up. He never gave up on anybody who cared about him,” Mr. Biden, who served alongside Mr. Reid for two decades in the Senate.
“If Harry said he was going to do something, he did it,” he added. “You could bank on it.”
Mr. Obama eulogized the former Majority Leader, who he credited for his rise to the White House.
“Few people have done more for this state, and this country, than this drive, brilliant, sometimes irascible, reply good man from Searchlight, Nevada,” Mr. Obama said.
“Harry did know the Senate better than just about anyone else,” he said. “More importantly, he understood why the work we were doing mattered.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer also joined in honoring Mr. Reid’s legacy.
“He was tough as nails, a fighter to his core, but also one of the most compassionate individuals you could ever imagine,” Mr. Schumer said. “He never forgot where he came from, always stuck up for the underdog and the little guy.
After two terms in the U.S. House, Mr. Reid was first elected to the Senate in 1986 and served five terms, ascending to leader of the Democratic caucus in 2005, a post he held until his retirement in 2017.
“The little boy of Searchlight has been able to be a part of a changing state of Nevada,” Mr. Reid said in his farewell Senate floor speech in December 2016. “I’m grateful I’ve been a part of that change.”
As Senate majority leader for the first six years of President Obama’s tenure in the White House, he shepherded through the closely-divided chamber such bills as the 2009 stimulus bill, the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) and the Dodd-Frank financial-regulation bill.
- This story includes wire reporting.