"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 McCainDem rep Charlie Crist files for divorce Why the GOP cannot sweep its Milo scandal under the rug New York Knicks owner gave 0K to pro-Trump group MORE (R-Ariz.) read a letter from Dole urging the treaty's passage, and Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinDems rip Trump administration for revoking Obama's transgender directive A guide to the committees: Senate McConnell: I’m very sympathetic to 'Dreamers' MORE (D-Ill.) told his colleagues "we need to pass this treaty as a tribute to Bob Dole." Sen. John KerryJohn KerryNew York Knicks owner gave 0K to pro-Trump group A bold, common sense UN move for the Trump administration Former Obama officials say Netanyahu turned down secret peace deal: AP 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.