Harry M. Reid, the Democrat who rose from childhood poverty in the rural Nevada desert to the heights of power in Washington, where he steered the Affordable Care Act to passage as Senate majority leader, died on Tuesday in Henderson, Nev. He was 82.
“I’m sure there are more people capable than I, better looking than me, better educated than me, smarter than me. But I’ve got the job. And I try to do the best I can with the job,” Reid told POLITICO in December 2016, weeks before retiring from the Senate.
A former boxer who developed a rough-and-tumble approach to politics, the Nevada Democrat served five terms in the U.S. Senate and would be a particularly pivotal figure on Capitol Hill in two administrations, as an opposition figure pushing and prodding President George W.
Bush and then as the Senate Majority Leader working to help President Barack Obama realize his agenda. Under his watch, Obama’s Affordable Care Act made it through a difficult legislative obstacle course and became law.
Reid rose from humble beginnings in Searchlight, Nevada, to become the most powerful politician in Nevada history, capping off his political career as the Democratic leader in the Senate, including eight years in the majority.
“He was my leader, my mentor, one of my dearest friends,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said in a statement Tuesday evening. “He’s gone but he will walk by the sides of many of us in the Senate every single day.”
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