Statement from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada:
“I am deeply saddened at the loss of my friend, Frank Lautenberg. I can think of no better example of an American success story than Frank’s life. The son of Russian and Polish immigrants, a World War II veteran, and a successful businessman turned United States Senator, Frank’s parents arrived in the U.S. when they were young and Frank spent much of his childhood moving frequently around New Jersey with his working class family. He enlisted in the Army at age 18 to defend his country, and with his death there is no longer a World War II veteran serving in the United States Senate. After attending college on the G.I. Bill, Frank went on to co-found ADP, becoming one of the most successful businessmen in the country.
“After succeeding in the business world, Frank decided to run for public office and won election to the Senate. As a Senator, Frank never compromised his principles and was a fierce advocate for the citizens of New Jersey. Millions of Americans are healthier and safer because of legislation he championed. Among his many accomplishments, he authored legislation that banned smoking on airplanes and raised the drinking age to twenty-one. Shaped by his own experience, Frank co-wrote the new GI Bill for 21st century veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. And he has fought for years to reduce gun violence in our neighborhoods, authoring the law that prevents domestic abusers from owning firearms. Last month, Frank returned to the Senate to vote on gun violence legislation, a cause he has worked on his entire career.
“History will show that Frank is one of the most productive Senators in the history of America. My thoughts are with his family and his wife Bonnie during this difficult time.”
WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a multimillionaire New Jersey businessman and liberal who was called out of retirement for a second tour of duty in Congress, has died at age 89.
A Democratic aide confirmed the death of the New Jersey senator. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss the death before it was formally announced.
Lautenberg had health problems in recent years. A bout with the flu caused him to miss the Senate's Jan. 1, 2013 vote to avoid the fiscal cliff of rising taxes and falling government spending.
He had been diagnosed in February 2010 with lymphoma of the stomach and underwent chemotherapy for the next few months.
He was principal sponsor of a law banning smoking on domestic airline flights.