Harry Reid

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Harry Reid currently serves as the Sr. Senator for Nevada

Harry Mason Reid, a Democrat, has represented the state of Nevada in the Senator since 1987 (map). He has served as the Senate majority leader since 2007.[1]


Record and controversies

Iraq War

Reid voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq in Oct. 2002.

For more information see the chart of U.S. Senate votes on the Iraq War.

Iraq War legislation

On April 3rd, 2007, Sen. Reid indicated that if the President vetoed the current Iraq appropriations bill, then he would in turn endorse a measure by Russ Feingold to cut general appropriations for the War on Terror. The measure would still permit money appropriated for “targeted” and “limited” campaigns against al Qaeda, protecting U.S. workers and training Iraqi forces.[1] On May 14, Reid introduced two amendments to a water-resources bill, aimed at addressing the Iraq War. The first amendment mirrored the Feingold legislation. The second amendment was similar to the previously passed legislation (which Bush vetoed) and would provide funding to U.S. combat troops, as well as call for withdrawal deadlines. The amendment, however, would include waivers allowing Bush to sidestep any Iraq withdrawal timeline. On May 16, the Senate failed to invoke cloture on the Feingold measure, 29-67.

Main article: Sen. Feingold measure to end funding for the Iraq War in 2008 (S.AMDT.1098)

In March and April 2007, the Senate considered an Iraq supplemental spending bill which included a deadline for troop withdrawal from Iraq. When President Bush threatened to veto such a measure, Majority Leader Reid responded by stating “This is a new thing for the president...In six years he’s had one veto, because he’s basically gotten everything he wanted.” He maintained, however, that he would like to reach a compromise with the White House, stating, “I would like to have a bill that he wouldn’t veto.” When the spending bill first passed the Senate, Reid stated, "We've spoken the words the American people wanted us to speak...There must be a change of direction in the war in Iraq, the civil war in Iraq." When the House and Senate passed such a bill, President Bush made good on his promise and vetoed it.

Main article: U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq Accountability Act, 2007 (H.R.1591)

Following the veto, Democratic leaders began considering another approach. Initially, a spokesperson for Majority Leader Reid said, “It's not anything that will fly in the Senate.” Later, however, when it became clear the measure would be considered by the House, the same aide stated “It is something that Senator Reid intends to take a look at.”

Main article: U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007 (H.R.2206)

On May 22, 2007, after numerous attempts at including timetables in an Iraq supplemental spending bill, Democratic leaders in both the House and Senate announced that they would each introduce supplemental spending bills which would not include timetables for combat withdrawal. Reid stated "And then, as I've indicated, the defense authorization, we're going to start right where we've left off with this bill, continuing our push to change direction in the war in Iraq."

Main article: Congressional actions to end the Iraq War in the 110th Congress

On Tuesday, June 12, 2007, Senate Democrats unveiled amendments to the defense authorization bill that would attempt to modify the role of U.S. combat troops in the Iraq War. These amendments followed previous, unsuccessful Democratic efforts to end U.S. involvement in the war, which resulted first in a presidential veto and, finally, a revised bill that did not address withdrawal. Majority Leader Reid said that each of the proposals would be given a separate floor vote before the Senate's Independence Day recess.

The new amendments discussed would:

  • Mandate beginning troop withdrawals within 120 days of passage
  • Set new troop readiness measures and ensure a minimum break between Iraq deployments
  • Block spending on military presence in Iraq except for troops working on counter-terrorism and training
  • Force a vote in Congress on revoking the 2002 authorization for the war
Main article: FY 2008 Defense Department authorization

Opposition to President Bush's troop "surge" in Iraq

Majority Leader Reid along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced their opposition to the President's plan for a troop "surge" in Iraq, stating that they “informed the president that they were opposed to increasing troop levels.” Both Pelosi and Reid expressed their disapproval in a letter to Bush on January 5, 2007, several days before the President's speech announcing the plan, but after its content was leaked to the public.

On February 5, 2007, the Senate planned to address several of the proposed nonbinding resolutions concerning the troop "surge." Senate Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) were unable, however, to agree on which resolutions would be debated and the manner in which they would be considered, and Republicans successfully blocked debate on the bill. When a cloture vote was attempted on one of the measures, Reid also voted with Republicans against debate, once it became clear the measure would fail, a procedural move that will provide him the option of reopening the issue in the future. Following the vote, Reid objected to Republican allegations that "Democrats were seeking to minimize consideration of alternative resolutions of support for the Bush surge." He continued by telling Republicans, "You can run but you cannot hide...We are going to debate Iraq."

On February 15, 2007, Reid announced that the Senate would hold a cloture vote on a non-binding resolution regarding the troop "surge" which was being considered in the House at the time. It stated:

" (1) Congress and the American people will continue to support and protect the members of the United States Armed Forces who are serving or who have served bravely and honorably in Iraq; and (2) Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq."[2]

The vote was scheduled for Saturday, February 17, which was part of a long weekend in celebration of Presidents' Day. Some saw Reid's decision as an attempt to make it more difficult, or at least inconvenient, for Republicans to again block the resolution from coming to the floor. Reid stated:

“For nearly four years, the Republican-controlled Senate stood silent on the President's flawed Iraq policies and watched as the situation deteriorated into a civil war. The American people have chosen to change course. Democrats have chosen to change course. Unfortunately, Senate Republicans have chosen obstruction. Almost every Republican who expressed concern about the escalation chose to block the Senate from debating the issue...Today, Democrats offered Republicans another chance for compromise, suggesting the Senate debate one resolution in favor of escalation and one resolution opposed to escalation. Once again, Senate Republicans refused...Democrats are determined to give our troops and the American people the debate they deserve, so the Senate will have another Iraq vote this Saturday. We will move for a clear up or down vote on the House resolution which simply calls on Congress to support the troops and opposes the escalation...Those Republicans who have expressed their concern over the Senate’s failure to debate the war in Iraq will have another opportunity to let their actions speak louder than their words.”

The vote failed 56-34. Following this second successful Republican filibuster of a troop "surge" resolution, Reid refused to hold a vote on any other resolutions, however, arguing that they were Republican attempts to “divert attention from the issue at hand.” Following the vote, Reid said it was unlikely that the resolution would be brought to the floor again, and implied that Democrats would instead focus on measures aimed at redeploying some U.S. troops from Iraq.

In response to a binding resolution introduced by Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) requiring congressional authorization for President Bush to increase troop levels in Iraq, Jim Manley, a spokesperson for the Majority Leader, said that "Senator Kennedy's resolution underscores the significant opposition on the Hill and with the American people to the president's plan. This is only one of several ideas about how to respond to the president's proposal on Iraq."

Main article: Congressional actions regarding President Bush’s 2007 proposed troop “surge” in Iraq

Health care

As Senate Majority Leader, Reid involved himself to an unusual degree in assembling the final health care measure currently before Congress; he met with nearly every Senate Democrat to assess concerns and personally sheparded the multifaceted measure through a favorable review by the Congressional Budget Office.

Harry Reid

On December 9, 2009, Senate Democrats reached what Reid called a "broad agreement" on the health care debate.[2] According to senior Democratic aides and a document distributed to senators who met with Reid, the bill would [3]:

  • Require individuals to get health insurance and parents to insure their children. Penalties on individuals who are not covered will phase in from $95 per year to $750. Employers with more than 50 workers would have to offer insurance or pay a penalty for each worker who buys coverage through a health insurance exchange;
  • Provide a tax deduction for small businesses for up to 50 percent of the cost of covering employees;
  • Reform insurance company practices, making it illegal for insurers to drop or deny coverage based on the cost of care or pre-existing conditions. It would also let parents keep their children on their insurance through age 26.

The passage of the Patient and Affordable Care Act would unarguably be the biggest accomplishment of Reid's political career; however, its passage has not come without great struggle. The bill has no evident Republican support, so Reid must rely on all 60 members of his Democratic coalition. As Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) stated: “Harry Reid had to fight great political forces and the Senate rules to bring us to this moment, and the fight continues”. [4]

Environmental record

Yucca Mountain

As Senator from Nevada, one of Reid's chief concerns has been the designation of Yucca Mountain as a nuclear waste storage site. Reid has worked diligently to keep Congress and the President from approving the site permanently. In the 1990s he worked to ensure that the Senate could[ not override President Bill Clinton's veto of legislation that sought to make Yucca a permanent nuclear waste storage site.

During the 2000 Presidential campaign Al Gore took the same position as Bill Clinton, declaring that he would veto any legislation permanently establishing Yucca as a high level nuclear waste site. George W. Bush, the eventual victor of the election, stated that he would rely on "sound science" to determine his position.[5]

However in 2002, President Bush and his Department of Energy approved of Yucca Mountain as a permanent nuclear waste site. Reid is reported to have shouted at the president while at the White House[6] and has publicly called George Bush a liar because of this decision. [7] Reid is rumoured to have voted in retaliation[8] to block a Utah wilderness bill meant to keep a native Ameircan Utah group from accepting nuclear waste in exchange for monetary return, because their senate delegation voted in favor of the Yucca Mountain Project.

In his December 5, 2004, appearance on Meet the Press, Reid reiterated that he believed Bush was a liar,

MR. RUSSERT: When the president talked about Yucca Mountain and moving the nation's nuclear waste there, you were very, very, very strong in your words. You said, "President Bush is a liar. He betrayed Nevada and he betrayed the country."
Is that rhetoric appropriate?
SEN. REID: I don't know if that rhetoric is appropriate. That's how I feel, and that's how I felt. I think to take that issue, Tim, to take the most poisonous substance known to man, plutonium, and haul 70,000 tons of it across the highways and railways of this country, past schools and churches and people's businesses is wrong. It's something that is being forced upon this country by the utilities, and it's wrong. And we have to stop it. And people may not like what I said, but I said it, and I don't back off one bit. [9]

Hold on Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act

In April 2007, when a Republican Senator placed an anonymous hold on the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blamed Majority Leader Reid for the failure of the bill's passage due to his refusing to bring the bill up for a floor debate, admitting that that the objecting Senator wished to add amendments to the bill.

On June 26, 2007, when the Minority Leader tried to block the appointment of conferees for S.1, an important lobbying reform bill (which had passed the Senate before), by demanding the addition of an amendment (a so-called "poison pill" amendment) to the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act, Reid was able to block the maneuver, but the conference committee for S.1 was delayed as a result.

Main article: Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act of 2007

Honest Leadership and Open Government Act

In 2006, when the Republican majority brought their ethics reform package, the Lobbying Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, to the floor, Minority Leader Reid offered an amendment to replace the proposed bill with the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, the Democrat's ethics bill. The vote on the amendment fell on party lines and was defeated 44-55.

Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007

On January 4th, 2007 the Senate began its legislative work in the 110th Congress with the introduction of the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007 (S.1) by Senate Majority Harry Reid. The bill would make numerous changes to ethics rules and laws in Congress. On January 18, 2007 the Senate overwhelmingly passed the bill, 96-2. The Senate went to conference committee on the bill after the House passed similar lobbying and transparency legislation in several other bills. When Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), who sought to extend the "revolving door" time period from one year to two years, asked to be on the conference committee to pursue those reforms, Majority Leader Reid denied his request. Many lobbying reform advocacy groups, including Public Citizen, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, Democracy 21, Common Cause, and the League of Women Voters, aware that the make up of the conference committee would be crucial in determining the final outcome of the legislation, were disappointed over the announcement. On June 28, 2007, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) blocked a deal between Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that would have started up long-stalled conference proceedings on the bill. DeMint made an objection to the agreement by phone to the Senate floor, minutes after McConnell had said Republicans would drop their objections to naming conferees. DeMint argued that he would not let the bill proceed until certain earmark reforms were accepted. He stated, "We will not have earmark reform during this year’s appropriations process. That is why this is being done," DeMint charged on the floor, adding later that "the only reason to go to conference with [the rules] in is to take them out." Democrats responded, Reid commenting, "Here we are, seconds from going to conference and a call comes in to the Republican cloak room. I understand the Minority Leader has a responsibility to take that ... but the eyes of the nation are on us... to not let us go to conference on some petty issue that my friend has raised is really bad.”

General information about important bills and votes for can be found in Congresspedia's articles on legislation. You can add information you find on how Harry Reid voted by clicking the "[edit]" link to the right and typing it in. Remember to cite your sources!

Senator's sons

In 2003 Reid was embarrassed by a Los Angeles Times article on his son and son-in-law lobbying his office. In 2002 Reid introduced a bill, "The Clark County Conservation of Public Land and Natural Resources Act of 2002," which was ostensibly aimed at boundary shifts, land trades and other arcane matters in Nevada. The Times article explains that the bill would provide "a cavalcade of benefits to real estate developers, corporations and local institutions that were paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in lobbying fees to his sons' and son-in-law's firms".[10]

Howard Hughes Corp. paid Reid's son-in-law Scott Barringer's "tiny" law firm $300,000 in lobbying fees and received "a provision allowing the company to acquire 998 acres of federal land ripe for development in the exploding Las Vegas metropolitan area." A Nevada law firm that employs all four of Reid's sons represented a group of real estate developers that received helpful provisions in the Clark County bill.[11]

Reid argued that the bill would help Nevada's economy while protecting the environment. The bill "placed an additional 440,000 acres of federal land under wilderness protection".[12]

Reid's son Key and Barringer have represented almost every industry in Nevada, all of them seek Reid's help on federal matters.[13] Reid initially defended his son's lobbying as perfectly legal and clean, noting that they had to file biannual reports. He later banned family members from lobbying anyone in his office.[14]

Acceptance of boxing tickets

Between 2003 and 2005, Reid accepted free ringside seats at three Nevada boxing matches. The passes were provided by the Nevada Athletic Commission, the official Nevada State Agency that "regulates all contests or exhibitions of boxing, including the licensure and supervision of promoters, boxers, mixed martial artists, karate boxers, seconds, ring officials, managers, and matchmakers." (Source: boxing.nv.gov). Reid accepted the tickets at a time that he was pushing legislation that would diminish the power of the commission. The bill passed the Senate, but stalled in the house. [15]

In December of 2006, the Senate Ethics Committee cleared Reid of any wrong doing in the matter. Reid, however, said that he understood the negative image his actions created and would refrain from acting similarly in the future. [16]

Relationship to Jack Abramoff

According to a February 9, 2006, Associated Press story by John Solomon, Reid wrote letters and had "routine contacts" with lobbying partners and clients of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. [17] Reid's actions aided the interests of Abramoff's Native American clients. Reid has acknowledged receiving $61,000 from clients or colleagues of Abramoff, much of which was given to Reid by Indian tribes after Abramoff was hired. [18] Reid collected donations around the time of each action he took to help Abromoff's clients. Ethics rules require senators to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest in legislative matters regarding campaign donors. While some politicians have returned contributions they received from Abramoff or his clients, Harry Reid has steadfastly refused claiming the Abramoff matter "is a Republican scandal." [19]

Abramoff's lobbying firm has made public billing records and congressional correspondence of more than two dozen contacts, between Abramoff's lobbying team, and Reid's office. Many of the discussions relate to the passage of a Kennedy bill that would slowly raise the minimum wage of the Northern Mariana Islands.[20] [21] Publicly, Reid supported an increase in minimum wage there, though some have claimed that privately he was working against it. Both Reid spokesmen Jim Manley and Ron Platt, one of Abramoff's partners involved with the Mariana lobbying, have denied the claim, Platt said "I'm sure he didn't".[22]

In his defense, Reid spokesman Jim Manley said that neither Reid nor his campaign has never received money directly from Abramoff, and Reid said his legislative work was done on behalf of his Nevadan constituents. After contacting Reid's office and other fact checking, Josh Marshall wrote in his Talking Points Memo blog that, "despite the AP story's narrative of lobbyist contacts, there doesn't seem to be any evidence whatsoever that Reid ever took any action on behalf of Abramoff's Marianas clients." [23]

Bush is a "Loser" and other comments

Reid made headlines in May 2005 when he said of George W. Bush, "The man's father is a wonderful human being. I think this guy is a loser." Reid later apologized for these comments. Reid also called Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas an "embarrassment" and referred to Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan as a "partisan hack."[24]

Improper donation from lobbyist

In 1999, Reid received a $3,000 donation from a Texas friend, Ben Barnes, for his legal defense fund during a recount process which followed his 1998 Senate campaign against his present-day colleague, Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.). Congressional ethics rules, however, prohibit lawmakers from accepting legal defense fund donations from registered lobbyists, which Barnes was at the time. The donation went unnoticed until the Center for Public Integrity released a report in August 2005 about a handful of lawmakers, Reid among them, who'd accepted improper lobbyist donations into their legal defense funds.

Reid brought the matter to the Senate Select Committee on Ethics, and repaid the $3,000 to Barnes in October 2005. The Ethics Committee informed him that he should also pay interest for the time he had the donation. Reid had an accountant calculate the exact amount using the statutory rate under Nevada law (prime plus two percent adjusted annually), and sent Barnes a check for $1,611.47 on May 22, 2006 out of his campaign fund.

Reid spokesman Jon Summers stated, "As soon as this came to our attention we resolved this as quickly as possible." [25]

Helps campaign contributor secure government land for development

Reid is a longtime friend of Harvey Whittemore, a multimillionaire lobbyist and land developer from Nevada. From 2002 to 2006, Reid often used his influence in the Senate to help Whittemore attain government land for the purposes of building a massive development in the barren Coyote Springs Valley in Nevada. Reid even pushed for Whittemore to be granted the rights for free; ultimately, he paid the government $10 million.

As the project advanced, Reid received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Whittemore. The contributions went both to Reid's Senate campaigns and his leadership fund, which helps fund the campaigns of other Senate Democrats.

The relationship between the two goes even deeper. Reid's son, Leif Reid, is Whittemore's personal lawyer and has represented the developer throughout the Coyote Springs project and his negotiations with federal officials.

In response, a spokesman for Reid said, "There is a reason every major Republican and Democratic officeholder in Nevada has fought for Coyote Springs---it will create jobs and make the state an even better place to live and raise a family." [26]

Improper reporting of land deal

In 1998, Reid bought two parcels of land on the outskirts of Las Vegas. He bought one parcel himself, and another jointly with his partner and longtime friend Jay Brown. In 2001, Reid sold the land to a limited liability company created by Brown for an equivalent share of the company. He did not disclose the sale to Congress, however, and continued to list the land as a personal asset. When the land sold for over $1 million dollars in 2004, Reid received $1.1 million and listed the transaction as a personal land sale. Reid's name was not formally attached to Brown's company in any way. Reid claimed that this was because the two men had known each other for 35 years and trusted each other completely. [27]

On October 16, 2006, Reid announced that he was filing a correction to his ethics form that would better represent the actualities of the arrangements surrounding the land deal. He also stated that he would be amending the reports to include two other small holdings that had been previously unreported. [28]

Improper use of campaign funds for Christmas bonuses

From 2002-2005, Reid used money that had been donated to his political campaign fund to contribute to the holiday bonus fund for the staffers of his Ritz-Carlton condominium. Federal law forbids the use of campaign funds for personal matters. Reid claimed that he had consulted his lawyers and been told it was legal as he was thanking them for extra work. Nevertheless, in October 2006, he pledged to personally pay back the money (a total of $3300). [29]

Earmark for a bridge near personal land

In November 2006, the Los Angeles Times reported that Reid had earmarked to a bridge building project near where he held 160 acres of land. The bridge is intended to span the Colorado River between Laughlin, Nevada and Bullhead City, Arizona. Reid's land is several miles from the proposed site of the bridge in Arizona. His office explained that the new bridge was necessary due to the Hoover Dam's closure to truck traffic due to terrorism fears and categorically denied that it had anything to with his landholdings.

In January 2007, Reid's 2002 acquisition of the property came under scrutiny as he only paid a mere $166 an acre for the 160 acre parcel.

Reid's interest in the barren parcel dates back to the period of 1979 through 1982, when he and Clair Haycock bought the 160 acres. Haycock bought a three-eighths interest, equivalent to 60 acres, for $90,000 — $1,500 an acre. Reid, then a Nevada lawyer and political figure, bought the other five-eighths, the equivalent of 100 acres. They did not divide the parcel.

Allegations have been made that Reid introduced legislation on behalf of Haycock, who was a "lubricants dealer" in las Vegas. [30]

Clash Over 9/11 bill

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Reid are disputing a provision to a 9/11 Bill. The current legislation gives collective bargaining rights to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners. The Democrats say the provision is a necessary clause for this homeland security bill. Meanwhile, Republicans have blasted Democrats, arguing that the bill is a giveaway to the labor interests that have given crucial political support to the new majority.

Actions as Senate majority leader


On February 8, 2007, despite concerns by many Republicans and some Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Reid moved for the Senate to consider the continuing resolution for FY2007 the following week with limited debate.

Main article: Continuing resolution of 2007

Demands President Bush to pledge not to pardon Scooter Libby

On March 6, 2007, after Vice-President Dick Cheney's former Chief of Staff I. Lewis Scooter Libby was convicted on four counts of perjury, obstruction of justice, and making a false statement, Reid demanded that President Bush pledge not to pardon him. [3]

Blocking White House nominees

As retaliation to the White House appointing three controversial figures during the spring recess of 2007, Reid and other Democratic leaders considered blocking all future White House nominations as well as shortening the August break. [4]

Threatens to call off August, 2007 recess

In June, 2007, Reid threatened to call of the Senate's scheduled August, 2007 recess if Senators did not resolve disputes over two pieces of legislation that were central to the Democratic platform in the 2006 elections. The first bill would implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, and the second would overhaul ethics, disclosure, transparency, and lobbying regulations in Congress.[5]

Opposition to Ted Olson as possible attorney general

On September 12, 2007, Reid declared that Ted Olson, the President's front-runner to succeed Alberto Gonzales as attorney general, would never be confirmed. Olson had previously represented President Bush before the Supreme Court in the 2000 Florida recount case, and was the former solicitor general. Reid and other Democrats dismissed Olson as being too partisan for the job. Reid stated, "Ted Olson will not be confirmed... I intend to do everything I can to prevent him from being confirmed as the next attorney general." Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) also opposed Olson as a choice for attorney general, saying that Olson is "certainly not a consensus nominee. He’s had a very political background at a time when you want ... somebody who puts the rule of law first."[6]

Warning of late adjournment date

On September 20, Reid warned members of Congress that they might have to stay in session until Christmas if progress was not made on passing "must pass" appropriations bills. The target adjournment date on the House calendar is October 26, though Congress rarely gets out before November. In 2006, then Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) proposed getting rid of target adjournment dates altogether, saying "It means nothing. You all know it means nothing because it really does mean nothing. Anyway, there is no reason to have a target adjournment on the schedule."[7]

Reid attributed the lack of progress on the appropriations bills, none of which had been passed, Bush’s “unusual” way of negotiating, saying, “It’s his way or no way.”[8]



Reid was born December 2, 1939, in Searchlight, Nevada. Reid attended Southern Utah State College on a partial athletic scholarship and received his Associate's degree in 1958. In 1961 he earned his bachelor's degree from Utah State University. Reid and his wife converted to Mormonism while attending Utah State.[31] He moved to Washington, D.C. and worked as an officer for the U.S. Capitol Police while attending George Washington University for his law degree. Reid graduated in 1964 and returned to Nevada to work as a lawyer before entering politics. He served in the Nevada State Assembly from 1968 to 1970 and was elected lieutenant governor in 1970. He served in that office until 1974, when he ran for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Alan Bible. He lost by fewer than 600 votes to former Governor Paul Laxalt.

Reid served as Nevada state gaming commissioner from 1977 to 1981, a post which subjected him to death threats.

When Nevada's growing population created a second U.S. House district, Reid won the Democratic nomination for the 1st Congressional District, based in Las Vegas, in 1982. He was easily elected in November and served two terms there, from 1983 to 1987, and was reelected in 1984.

Senate career

He was elected to the Senate in 1986, succeeding Laxalt. In 1998, he narrowly defeated his Republican opponent, future Senator John Ensign (Ensign won Nevada's other Senate seat in 2000). In 1999, Reid became Minority Whip, and the right hand man of Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota.

Issues and positions

Reid's voting record has been moderate. He has opposed most gun control legislation; voted for the partial birth abortion ban; voted for both the Gulf War resolution of 1991 and the Iraq war resolution of 2002; and protected mining companies from environmental regulation.

He also is an opponent of tort reform and is a leading opponent of a national asbestos liability trust fund. On fiscal matters, Reid voted against the balanced-budget amendment and opposes the tax cuts passed since Bush took office.

He does not approve of same-sex marriage, but is against a constitutional amendment defining marriage. He has a mixed record on gun control, voting against the ban on assault weapons and in favor of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, but in favor of the Brady Bill and background checks at gun shows. Reid is a strong supporter of the death penalty, having voted in favor of limiting death penalty appeals and executing criminals who were minors when they committed their crime.

Iraqi war

Though he has a moderate voting record, he has taken a public stance against aspects of the war in Iraq war. On July 31, 2006 he joined with Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in leading top congressional Democrats in signing a letter urging President Bush to start withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2006. The letter was signed by the twelve leading Democrats on the House and Senate committees handling armed services, foreign relations, intelligence and military spending. [32]

Senate leadership

In 2001 Reid was instrumental in convincing Republican Senator James Jeffords (VT) to become an independent and caucus with the Democrats.[33] Jeffords' party switch briefly gave the Democrats control of the Senate. The clincher for Jeffords occurred when Reid offered Jeffords his chairmanship of the Environmental and Public Works Committee. In 2002 Reid became the Senate Majority Whip. In 2002 Reid became the Minority Whip, the second highest leadership position in his party. When Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) was considering a 2004 bid for President Reid quickly began securing votes for his own election to the Minority Leader post.

On November 2nd, 2004 Daschle was defeated by John Thune in a tight election. Reid immediately became the favorite to succeed him. After Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) announced that he would not seek the leader's post Reid was left to run unopposed. On November 16, 2004, Reid was elected Senate Democratic Leader and Minority Leader for the 109th Congress.

In 2005, when Senate Republicans threatened to invoke the nuclear option, Reid became one of the option's most fervent opponents. He threatened to virtually shut down Senate business if it were successfully invoked. However, when a group of moderate senators known as the Gang of Fourteen reached a compromise, he embraced the agreement.

On November 1, 2005, Reid moved that the Senate go into closed session, a very unusual action. The public was removed from the Senate chambers. The move was intended to draw attention to the continuing controversy as to the inaccuracy of the intelligence that said Iraq had been in possession of weapons of mass destruction. When he called for the closed session, Reid expressed anger that a letter signed by Democratic senators to the White House demanding such an investigation had been answered by a form letter. The move was an attempt to get around the perceived stalling by Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS). Roberts had promised in July of 2004 to investigate the Bush administration's misuse of intelligence before the Iraq War but to date has not released any findings of such an investigation. During this closed session, Democrats demanded that the Republican majority finish its report on pre-war intelligence.[34] Republicans decried this move as a political stunt as the investigation was already well under way.[35] Reid contended that this investigation has been constantly delayed, and this move necessary to force an end to the delays.

Reid was the first Senator to express support of Bush's second nominee to the Supreme Court, Harriet Miers. Bush had discussed the selection with Reid in advance of the announcement. After Miers withdrew her nomination, Reid asked Bush not to reward the Religious Right's "bad behavior" by appointing a right-wing idealogue.

Recently Reid Press Secretary Tessa Hafen resigned her office in order to run against Republican Representative Jon Porter in the 3rd Congressional district with a strong show of support from Reid and others. [36]

After the Democrats took control of the Senate in the 2006 midterm elections, Reid was elected Senate majority leader for the 110th Congress.

Reid was re-elected Majority Leader without opposition by the Democratic caucus for the 111th Congress. [37]


Coalitions and caucuses

  • Congressional Friends of Animals
  • Co-Chair, Democratic Policy Committee
  • Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
  • Senate Rural Health Caucus
  • Congressional Competitiveness Caucus
  • Senate Tourism Caucus

Boards and other affiliations

This is a profile of a U.S. senator. (See all the Nevada portal for all incumbents, candidates and blogs.)
Nevada state flag.png

Things you can do:

More Background Data


DC Office:
528 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-2803
Phone: 202-224-3542
Fax: 202-224-7327
Web Email Contact Form

District Office- Carson City:
600 East Williams Street, Room 302
Carson City, NV 89701-4048
Phone: 775-882-7343
Fax: 775-883-1980

District Office- Las Vegas:
Lloyd D. George Building, Suite 8016
333 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89101
Phone: 702-388-5020
Fax: 702-388-5030

District Office- Reno:
Bruce R. Thompson Courthouse and Federal Building, Suite 902
400 South Virginia Street
Reno, NV 89501-2193
Phone: 775-686-5750
Fax: 775-686-5757

Articles and resources

Wikipedia also has an article on Harry Reid. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.


  1. Harry M. Reid profile, The Washington Post, accessed January 2011.
  2. Greg Sargent, "House Dems' Resolution: "Congress Disapproves" Of Escalation," TPM Cafe, February 12, 2007.
  3. Greg Sargent, "Harry Reid: Bush Must Not Pardon Libby," TPM Cafe, March 6, 2007.
  4. Erin P. Billings, "Democrats May Block Nominees," Roll Call, April 11, 2007.
  5. Manu Raju, "Reid threatens to call off August recess," The Hill, June 29, 2007.
  6. Jennifer Dlouhy, "Democrats pledge to prevent ex-solicitor general from replacing Gonzales," Kansas City Star, September 12, 2007.
  7. Jackie Kucinich, "Reid warns of December adjournment," The Hill, September 21, 2007.
  8. Jackie Kucinich, "Reid warns of December adjournment," The Hill, September 21, 2007.


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Articles about Harry Reid

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Corresponding article on Wikipedia and Cause Caller. (If Cause Caller link does not work, pick from its list of senators and representatives.)

Current Office: U.S. Senate
111th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

110th Congress
Leadership Position:
Majority Leader
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

Congressional Friends of Animals, Co-Chair, Democratic Policy Committee, Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Senate Rural Health Caucus, Congressional Competitiveness Caucus, Senate Tourism Caucus
Committees: Senate Committee on Rules and Administration,
Congressional Career
First Elected to Current Office:
November 4, 1986
First Took Current Office:
January 3, 1987
Next Election:
November 2, 2010
Term Ends:
Freshman Member?
Previous Political Work?
US House of Representatives, Nevada Lieutenant Governor, Nevada State Assembly, Nevada Gaming Commission, Henderson (NV) City Attorney,
Other Party Membership:
District Offices:
1. 600 East Williams Street, Room 302, Carson City, NV 89701-4048
Phone: 775-882-7343 / Fax: 775-883-1980
2. Lloyd D. George Building, Suite 8016, 333 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, NV 89101
Phone: 702-388-5020 / Fax: 702-388-5030
3. Bruce R. Thompson Courthouse and Federal Building, Suite 902, 400 South Virginia Street, Reno, NV 89501-2193
Phone: 775-686-5750 / Fax: 775-686-5757

Campaign Contact:

Webform Email: / Email:

Campaign Offices:

Phone: / Fax:

Zip Code Affiliations:

Date of Birth: December 2, 1939