Joe Biden orders flags to half-staff in honor of Sen. Harry Reid

President Biden on Wednesday ordered American flags on federal property to be lowered to half-staff on the day former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is buried.

Reid (D-Nev.), 82, died of pancreatic cancer on Tuesday after a four-year battle with the disease. 

Biden — who served alongside Reid in the Senate for more than 20 years before being elected as Barack Obama’s vice president in 2008 — praised Reid’s dedication to public service and his rise from an impoverished childhood to become one of the most influential leaders in Congress.

“From humble roots in Searchlight, Nevada, Harry Reid rose to become one of the great Senate Majority Leaders in American history.  He was a man of action, and a man of his word — guided by faith, loyalty, and unshakeable resolve,” Biden said in a proclamation issued Wednesday.

President Biden ordered flags to be flown at half-staff to honor former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Kevin Lamarque/REUTERS
President Biden served in the Senate with Reid for 20 years.
President Biden served in the Senate with Reid for more than 20 years.
Ron Sachs/CNP

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), a Reid protégé, ordered the flags at the US Capitol to be lowered Tuesday evening, shortly after Reid’s widow, Landra, announced the news of her husband’s death.

Funeral arrangements are expected to be finalized and announced in the coming days.

A one-time amateur boxer, Reid was first elected to Congress in 1982. Four years later, he won a seat in the Senate, where he remained for the next three decades.

The American flag is flown at half-staff over the U.S. Capitol Building in honor of former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on December 29, 2021 in Washington
The American flag is flown at half-staff over the US Capitol in honor of former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Dec. 29, 2021.
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Prior to his time in Congress, Reid served as chair of the powerful Nevada Gaming Commission, was the Silver State’s 25th lieutenant governor, served for two years in the Nevada Assembly and worked as a Capitol Police officer while he attended George Washington University’s law school. 

As Senate majority leader, Reid played a leading role in the passage of the Affordable Care Act and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act.

Members of both parties, including Reid’s frequent political foes, expressed their condolences following his death. 

“The nature of Harry’s and my jobs brought us into frequent and sometimes intense conflict over politics and policy,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday. “But I never doubted that Harry was always doing what he earnestly, deeply felt was right for Nevada and our country. He will rightly go down in history as a crucial, pivotal figure in the development and history of his beloved home state.”