Washington (CNN)Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will lie in state in the US Capitol Rotunda on January 12, according to a joint statement from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, an honor given to few statesmen.
There will be a formal arrival and departure ceremony, and the events will be limited to invited guests due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the statement said.
Reid, who spearheaded epic legislative battles through three decades in Congress, died last week at the age of 82. He rose from humble beginnings in Searchlight, Nevada, to become the most powerful politician in Nevada history, capping off his political career as the Democratic leader in the Senate, including eight years in the majority.
“Senator Harry Reid was a titan of public service, who for more than four decades fought relentlessly for working families like his own,” Pelosi said. “It is my solemn honor as House Speaker to pay tribute to a legendary leader, a great American and my dear friend, Senator Harry Reid.”
Schumer similarly lauded Reid as a “great American, father, husband, Senate leader and one of history’s most devoted fighters for the people of Nevada and the poor and middle class throughout the country.”
“Few dedicated their life and career to working for and delivering for working families like Harry Reid, and it will be an honor to pay tribute to him in the Capitol next week,” he said.
Lying in state, according to the Architect of the Capitol, is an honor reserved for “government officials and military officers” and involves laying the casket of the deceased in the Rotunda of the Capitol.
Reid underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer in 2018 and said less than a year later that he was in remission. At the time, he told CNN’s Dana Bash that he felt “very good” and that he was “doing fine.” But Reid responded to his cancer diagnosis with his usual bluntness, telling The New York Times in 2019: “As soon as you discover you have something on your pancreas, you’re dead.”
President Joe Biden, who served with Reid in the Senate, called him one of “the all-time great Senate Majority Leaders in our history” in a statement following his death.
“And for Harry, it wasn’t about power for power’s sake. It was about the power to do right for the people.”