Senate will hold moment of silence for victims of deadly mine explosion

Reid shared a story about his father, who was a miner, saying that he was seriously injured in an explosion when the senator was a young child. 

Reid said his father was "hurt, in a state of shock" after the explosion, which was caused by a faulty fuse, blew out his light and knocked the soles off of his shoes. His father was able to escape the mine before the additional charges went off.

"I sympathize greatly with the people of West Virginia for their loss," he said.

The Nevada Democrat hails from the town of Searchlight, which was known for its gold mining and exploration of other minerals.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), like Reid, offered condolences to the people of West Virginia. Kentucky is also a major coal producing state.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to our neighbors in West Virginia as they try and recover from the latest tragedy in what is obviously a very dangerous profession," he said on the Senate floor.

Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) also addressed the mining tragedy and said stronger mine safety oversight is needed. "It clearly calls for a much more aggressive approach by our federal government,” he said. “We can do better."

Reid, McConnell and Durbin also offered condolences for the people of Poland, who lost their president and other top government officials in a plane crash in Russia this weekend. 

Ben Geman contributed to this post