© Reuters. The flag-covered casket of former US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid during a memorial service in his honor at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas, Nevada, US, January 8, 2022. REUTERS/Evelyn Hochstein
Written by Jeff Mason
LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – U.S. politicians including President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama on Saturday celebrated the life of former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as a humble pragmatist who got things done.
Reid passed away last month https://www.reuters.com/world/us/former-us-senate-majority-leader-harry-reid-has- Died 12-29-2021 at the age of 82 after suffering from pancreatic cancer .
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also paid tribute to Reed at the Nevada memorial service, which included notes from Reed’s family members and music to singer-songwriter Carol King.
Reed helped get Obama’s health care bill of 2010 passed by Congress despite fierce opposition from Republicans, and the former president said he couldn’t ask for a best friend.
“Without Harry, there would be no Affordable Care Act,” Obama said in his eulogy. Harry refused to give up.
Obama said Reed gently indicated that he was aware of the Senate when Obama questioned any changes or deals he made to get the bill through.
“Pragmatism, practicality, the importance of getting things done, a lack of pretension and unwavering loyalty,” Obama said.
Obama, Biden, Pelosi and others described Reade’s penchant for cutting off conversations and turning off the phone without saying goodbye. “Every time I hear a dial tone, I think of Harry,” Biden joked.
Biden, who served in the Senate for nearly 36 years, said Reade was one of the best majority leaders in history.
“For Harry, it was not about power. It was about the love of power, the power of being able to use power to do good to people.”
Reed was first elected to the House in 1982 and sent to the Senate by Nevada voters in 1986. He retired in 2016.
President Reid described him as an honest, honorable, respectful, courageous and steadfast man.