"We should do this to recognize what a great leader Bob Dole is," Reid said.

The top Senate Democrat added he saw the former Republican leader as "a stalwart figure in the history of America."

"He had all the qualities of a leader that I admire and certainly would wish I had," Reid said.

Dole, who was the 1996 Republican presidential nominee and the 1976 vice presidential nominee, has been plagued by a leg infection for years and spent more than three years in the hospital after being wounded during World War II. 

But in a statement to CBS News, an assistant for Dole said he had been hospitalized for a "routine" procedure.

"He checked himself in for a routine procedure and will discharge tomorrow," Dole's assistant said. "Doing well and watching the CRPD debate on CSPAN 2."

The former Republican leader served on the panel convened by former President George W. Bush to investigate problems at the Army medical center after substandard conditions were revealed in a Washington Post investigation in 2007.

Reid was not the only senator to invoke Dole while arguing in favor of the CRPD, an international treaty that seeks to ensure rights for the disabled. Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump congratulated Putin after his national security team told him not to: report Trump faces backlash after congratulating Putin on election win McCain rips Trump's congratulatory call to Putin as an insult to Russian people MORE (R-Ariz.) read a letter from Dole urging the treaty's passage, and Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinGOP leaders to Trump: Leave Mueller alone Water has experienced a decade of bipartisan success Trump vows tougher borders to fight opioid epidemic MORE (D-Ill.) told his colleagues "we need to pass this treaty as a tribute to Bob Dole." Sen. John KerryJohn Forbes KerryKentucky candidate takes heat for tweeting he'd like to use congressman for target practice Breitbart editor: Biden's son inked deal with Chinese government days after vice president’s trip State lawmakers pushing for carbon taxes aimed at the poor MORE (D-Mass.) also cited Dole's letter in advocating for the bill.

Dole penned an editorial advocating the CRPD for The Hill earlier this year.

Ramsey Cox contributed to the reporting of this article.