The lawmaker from Nevada served in Congress for 34 years.
Congressional lawmakers paid tribute to former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Wednesday, as he was given the rare honor of lying in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.
Reid died at age 82 on Dec. 28 following complications from pancreatic cancer.
As a military color guard carried Reid’s casket, lawmakers gathered at the top of the Capitol steps with hands over their hearts.
Vice President Kamala Harris was among those attending the tribute.
Reid, a former amateur boxer from the small town of Searchlight, Nevada, and considered a sometimes ruthless yet revered politician, was being remembered by colleagues for his nearly four-decade-long career in Congress, which he built from the ground up, eventually carving out his role as one of the most powerful people in government. It was under Reid that the Senate passed then-President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act — landmark legislation for his presidency.
Wednesday’s services at the Capitol began with a ceremonial arrival at 10:30 a.m. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will make remarks on Reid’s life and legacy.
“It is indeed a great honor to join this tribute to the towering titan of public service, Sen, Harry Reid,” Pelosi said at his memorial in his home state of Nevada over the weekend. “He was tough as nails, fighter to his core, but also one of the most compassionate individuals you can imagine.”
Schumer, who served with Reid in the Senate, was one of the first lawmakers to react to Reid’s death, calling him in a statement, “My leader, my mentor, one of my dearest friends.”
A casket viewing, not open to the public due to COVID-19 protocols, will follow from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The day concludes with a ceremonial departure on the Capitol’s East Center Steps at 5 p.m.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Reid’s longtime Republican counterpart, is in Washington and will also likely visit the casket of the late senator he has called a “pivotal figure,” despite their disagreements.
Reid’s funeral in Las Vegas on Saturday was also joined by President Joe Biden, Obama and other Democratic Party leaders. There, speakers fondly recounted Reid’s self-described personality quirks cultivated after decades in office, including constantly dismissing praise of his work, curt responses and abruptly hanging up on colleagues.
While a visit to the Capitol Rotunda is not on Biden’s schedule for Wednesday, it was unclear whether he would pay his respects there as well.
Reid was the longest-serving senator in Nevada state history.
Former Sen. Bob Dole was the last individual to be given the rare honor to lie in state at the Capitol.