WASHINGTON — President Biden and former President Barack Obama honored Harry M. Reid on Saturday as a loyal son of Nevada who rose to change into a plain-spoken however pivotal chief within the Senate, the place he steered landmark Democratic laws whereas tolerating little vainness or reward.

“Harry cared a lot about his fellow Individuals and so little about what anyone considered him,” Mr. Biden stated at a memorial service for Mr. Reid, who died late last month at 82, on the Smith Middle for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas.

“He was all Searchlight, no highlight,” the president added, referring to the mining outpost in Nevada the place Mr. Reid grew up.

Together with the present and former president, the memorial service additionally included testimonials from different distinguished Democrats, together with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the bulk chief, an indication of Mr. Reid’s affect on his get together. Vice President Kamala Harris and Doug Emhoff, the second gentleman, in addition to Jill Biden, the primary girl, have been additionally seated within the viewers.

Every speaker, together with Mr. Reid’s daughter and 4 sons, spoke of his ardour for the Senate and love for his dwelling state. His son Leif Reid famous that his father was such a fan of the Las Vegas-based band the Killers that he requested that its lead singer, Brandon Flowers, sing at his memorial service.

Earlier than performing Nevada’s state tune, “Dwelling Means Nevada,” Mr. Flowers advised the viewers a narrative of visiting the Capitol and being directed by Mr. Reid to carry out the tune for Mr. Schumer.

Different audio system recounted tales of the tenacity of Mr. Reid, a former boxer, as he guided monumental Democratic victories by Congress, together with a sweeping financial stimulus plan in response to the Nice Recession, a brand new algorithm to rein in Wall Road and probably the most important growth of well being care protection because the Nice Society of the Sixties.

“Let there be little question: Harry Reid will probably be thought-about one of many biggest Senate majority leaders in historical past,” Mr. Biden stated.

Mr. Reid turned the face of Senate Democrats after being elected by his colleagues because the minority chief in 2005, after which turned majority chief in 2007 when Democrats took management of the chamber. He would tackle all comers, Republican or Democrat, and was identified for a blunt method that sometimes obtained him in hassle.

Ms. Pelosi recalled Mr. Reid as a person of few phrases.

“And he needed everyone else to be an individual of few phrases,” she stated.

Ms. Pelosi joined different audio system in describing Mr. Reid’s penchant for hanging up the phone on his colleagues. He couldn’t tolerate dragging out a dialog with a farewell. She described his modesty: He as soon as shut down her try to have a good time his accomplishments by throwing him a cocktail party for his retirement.

“I don’t wish to do it,” Ms. Pelosi recalled Mr. Reid telling her. “Save the cash. Feed the poor.”

Ms. Pelosi stated she by no means heard Mr. Reid say “an unkind phrase about any of his Senate colleagues,” prompting a truth verify from Mr. Obama.

“I don’t find out about that, Nancy,” Mr. Obama stated later because the viewers broke out in laughter. “However he would work with them.”

After a famously hardscrabble upbringing in Searchlight and a begin in state politics, Mr. Reid was elected to the Home in 1982 and the Senate in 1986. He served because the No. 2 Senate Democrat when Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota was the get together chief, and when Mr. Daschle misplaced his re-election bid in 2004, Mr. Reid rapidly outmaneuvered potential rivals for the highest slot.

Because the Democratic chief, Mr. Reid jousted with President George W. Bush, whom he as soon as labeled a “loser,” over the warfare in Iraq and numerous home points. Democrats rode voter dissatisfaction with Mr. Bush to Senate management within the 2006 elections.

In late 2008, as Mr. Bush’s second time period wound down, Mr. Reid was instrumental in working with the White Home to stave off a nationwide financial collapse by steering the $700 billion Troubled Asset Reduction Program by Congress and stabilizing the economic system.

Mr. Reid took decidedly conservative stances early in his profession, notably opposing abortion and looser immigration legal guidelines. However his positions shifted because the demographics of his state modified, and he ultimately turned a champion of undocumented immigrants and a supporter of abortion entry. Mr. Obama stated that after Mr. Reid launched laws to repeal birthright citizenship, Mr. Reid’s spouse, Landra, swayed him on immigration by reminding him that her father had been a Russian immigrant.

Mr. Obama added: “Later, Harry would say, ‘I got here to the belief that I used to be means off base. I’m so glad she righted the ship.’”

Mr. Reid inspired Mr. Obama to run for president earlier than the 2008 election though Mr. Obama was a junior member of the Senate on the time. And after Mr. Obama received the White Home, Mr. Reid was certainly one of his most reliable and necessary allies, utilizing each legislative weapon at his disposal to win approval of the financial stimulus invoice and, most critically, the Inexpensive Care Act, which memorably handed the Senate in 2009 throughout a blizzard on Christmas Eve.

“The offers Harry made to get that regulation executed didn’t all the time look fairly,” Mr. Obama stated, including: “Each time I might object to a change he needed to make, whether or not due to some coverage issues or worries concerning the optics, Harry would inform me with some exasperation in his voice, ‘Mr. President, you realize much more than I do about well being care coverage, OK? However I do know the Senate.’”

Mr. Biden, a former senator who’s now struggling to go his personal sweeping home coverage invoice, grew animated whereas describing Mr. Reid’s negotiation techniques and congressional victories. “If Harry stated he was going to do one thing, he did it,” he stated, including: “You would financial institution on it. That’s how he obtained a lot executed for the great of the nation for therefore many many years.”

Democrats skilled important losses in 2010 however held on to the Senate, whereas Mr. Reid himself survived a powerful problem from an opponent aligned with the far proper. Mr. Reid, who suffered important accidents throughout a house exercising accident in 2015, selected to not run for re-election in 2016 and returned to Nevada, the place he remained a serious political energy dealer.

Mr. Obama closed his remarks with the phrase Mr. Reid shunned throughout his cellphone calls, the farewell he didn’t deem mandatory.

“However it’s for us,” Mr. Obama stated. “Goodbye, Harry.”


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