Democrat Nevada Senator Harry Reid died last night after a multi-year battle with pancreatic cancer.
As the Senate’s top Democrat, Mr. Reid successfully blocked President George W. Bush from privatizing Social Security, and later helped enact the 2010 health-insurance law known as the Affordable Care Act. He also led a push to change the Senate’s procedures to confirm executive-branch nominees and most judges with a simple majority, a momentous move that permanently altered the chamber’s character.-The Wall Street Journal
Mitch McConnell and Reid had an interesting, if a bit contentious relationship:
Mr. Reid’s tactics infuriated Republicans, and some Democrats too. Mr. Reid’s Republican counterpart, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), said in 2013 that if Mr. Reid went nuclear—shorthand for eliminating the Senate’s 60-vote requirement for presidential nominees and allowing most confirmations to proceed with a simple majority—he would “be remembered as the worst leader here ever.”
Mr. Reid pushed ahead with the change, insisting that he needed to respond to Mr. McConnell’s constant obstruction. By 2017, Mr. McConnell responded by driving through the elimination of the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, resulting in the court’s current 6-3 conservative majority. In his retirement, Mr. Reid concluded that the legislative filibuster should be abolished as well.
“I truly appreciated the sincere and cordial relationship we shared behind the scenes when passions cooled,” Mr. McConnell said Tuesday night, calling him “one of a kind.”