POLITICS

Schumer delivers emotional goodbye to Senate Democratic Leader Reid

Incoming Senate Democratic leader joins the debate on 'Fox News Sunday'

 

New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer fought back tears in his emotional farewell to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.

“Harry, I wouldn’t be the senator or the man that I am today without you,” Schumer said as he sniffled and his voice quivered in his farewell speech Thursday on Capitol Hill.

Schumer -- whom Reid last spring picked to replace him as the chamber’s top Democrat, instead of second-ranking Senate Democrat Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin -- spoke for about 15 minutes before Reid’s farewell portrait was unveiled.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I will miss you,” Schumer said in closing Thursday. “It will be quite some time until we see another like Harry Reid. Until then, this portrait will have to do.”

Those also attending the event included Vice President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Hillary Clinton, who served with Reid during her tenure as a New York senator.  

Reid, Nevada, leaves the Senate after 30 years and more than a decade as the chamber’s top Democrat.

His top achievements include helping President Obama get his signature health care law, ObamaCare, passed in 2009, when Democrats controlled the House and had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

However, Republicans, who after the November elections will occupy the White House while keeping control of Congress, appear poised next month to take the first steps toward repealing and replacing ObamaCare.

In addition, Reid leaves after Democrats lost control of the Senate in 2014 and failed to regain it in 2016, missing their best opportunity in years.

Still, the 77-year-old Reid, slowed recently by health issues, leaves as the third-longest-serving Senate leader in history and with a remarkable legislative history that includes helping pass finance reform and a major stimulus package.

He also brought home major benefits to Nevada, funding countless projects, blocking a nuclear waste dump and helping protect many thousands of acres of wilderness -- highlighted earlier this week in Reid’s one-hour-plus farewell speech on the Senate floor.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.