Describing the war on Iraq as a "loser"... The death of the former US Senate majority leader
Democrat Reed, a former amateur boxer, has represented Nevada in Congress for more than three decades in both the House and Senate.
His wife, Landra, 62, said in a statement that he died after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
"We are incredibly proud of the legacy he is leaving on the national stage and in his beloved Nevada," said Landra, who has five children.
Wared, the son of a miner, rose from poverty to become Senate Majority Leader and earned a reputation as a fierce partisan fighter during a political deadlock in Washington.
As a majority leader, in 2010 Reed helped get Congressional approval of former President Barack Obama's health care bill, known as Obamacare, despite fierce opposition from Republicans.
On Tuesday, Obama posted on social media a recent letter he wrote to Reid, in which he said, “You have been a great leader in the Senate, and early on you have been more generous to me than I expected. I would not have become president without your encouragement and support, and I would not have achieved most of what I have accomplished without your skill and determination.”
Reed opted not to run for a new term in 2016, a year after he suffered broken ribs and facial bones and an eye injury while exercising at home.
His position on the war on IraqReed assumed majority leadership in 2007 after the Democrats took control of the Senate. Despite being a moderate politician who differs from others in his party on abortion, the environment and gun control, he has clashed with Republicans and has had a poor relationship with their congressional leaders.
"I'd rather dance than fight but I know how to fight," Reed said in 2004.
In 2012, Mitch McConnell, then the Republican leader in the Senate, called Reid "the worst Senate leader ever" while Reed accused McConnell of "breach of trust" in an important case. That same year, Reed accused Republican John Boehner of acting dictatorial as Speaker of the House.
Reid voted in favor of Iraq war legislation in 1991 and 2002. While Reid remained in favor of the first Iraq war, he changed his mind and opposed the second, accusing the administration of former Republican President George W. Bush of misleading the nation about it.
Reid sparked a political storm when he declared in 2007 that the Iraq war, which Bush launched in 2003, was a "lost." Reed rejected Republican demands for an apology.
Reid was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1982 and was elected to the Senate by Nevada voters in 1986. He demonstrated remarkable resilience in the face of the challenges of being elected to subsequent terms.
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