WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid thanked likely Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul of Kentucky for dispensing "expert advice" on Reid's injured right eye.
"I really appreciate it very, very much," the Nevada Democrat said to Paul, a Republican senator and ophthalmologist who was taking his turn presiding over the chamber Wednesday.
"I want the people of Kentucky to know that, how thoughtful, considerate and kind you've been to me over these months," Reid told Paul.
On New Year's Day, Reid fell and injured the right side of his face and his right eye while exercising.
He's had extensive surgery to try to regain his sight in that eye, which is shielded behind tinted glasses.
Paul is expected to launch a presidential campaign on April 7.
With that remark, Reid launched into a complaint about "another Republican-contrived fight" over legislation to combat human trafficking, which is holding up the confirmation of Loretta Lynch, President Barack Obama's nominee for attorney general.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wants some changes in Congress.
"Women in Congress (number) over 100," the associate justice, 82, told a crowd of lawmakers, aides and others gathered Wednesday in Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol for Women's History Month.
"Next time I come back," Ginsburg added, "I expect there will be even more."
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi hosted the reception honoring Ginsburg and Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan as part of an annual celebration. The first-ever woman to serve on the high court, Sandra Day O'Connor, retired in 2006 and could not attend, Pelosi said.
The attendees sipped citrus drinks and nibbled fruit and cheese as Pelosi and the highest-ranking Republican woman in the House, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, honored the trio and spoke of women achieving firsts in American public life.
Off to the side of the stage, among statues of men, sat a sculpture of suffragist Frances E. Willard, the first depicting a woman to be chosen for the National Statuary Hall Collection. Also in the backdrop, a recent addition to the gallery: the statue of Rosa Parks, the civil rights activist and the first figure of a black woman to be honored with a life-size sculpture in the Capitol.
"Once the door is open, there is no stopping us," Ginsburg told the crowd.