Harry Reid skips opening of new Congress after concussion, fractures

Harry Reid skips opening of new Congress after concussion, fractures
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, shown on Capitol Hill in November, suffered a concussion and broken ribs and facial bones while exercising in his Nevada home on New Year's Day. (Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)

Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the outgoing majority leader, skipped opening day in the new Congress on Tuesday as doctors orders kept him home following an exercise equipment accident last week.

The 75-year-old senator had promised to be back on the job after suffering broken ribs and face bones -- and a newly reported concussion. But instead he convened his leadership team Tuesday for a morning meeting at his Washington condo.


In a photo tweeted by his office, Reid looked casual and upbeat -- though a sizable bandage covered his right cheek and eye.

Senate floor duties have been turned over to the No. 2 Democrat, Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, while Reid recuperates. Reid's return will be assessed on a day-by-day basis, an aide said.

"He has been working every day, holding meetings with fellow senators and staff," said Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson. "And [he] will continue to keep a busy schedule in the coming days."

Jentleson said President Obama and Reid have talked "multiple times" since Thursday, when the senator fell in his Las Vegas-area home after an exercise resistance band broke.

The opening of the new Congress turns Senate control over to Republicans, pushing Reid -- who had been majority leader since 2007 -- back to minority leader.

Reid has bounced back from health scares before, but it is very rare for the Senate leader to stay away from the office. He typically opens the chamber each morning, and closes it most evenings.

A few years ago, he tumbled on his morning walk, and showed up to work with a black eye and other injuries. About a decade earlier, he suffered a mini-stroke.

After his New Year's Day exercise accident, Reid promised he would be back at work in time for the start of the new Congress.

But as a precaution he stayed home "so that his injuries can continue to heal," his spokesman said.

Staff writer Michael A. Memoli contributed to this report.

For the latest from Congress follow @LisaMascaro