Senators argue over Christmas
December 15th, 2010
04:59 PM ET
4 years ago

Senators argue over Christmas

(CNN) – With a stacked legislative agenda to pass before the end of the year, the latest battle in the Senate centers on when members will head home to their districts to celebrate Christmas.

After Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, left the door open to keeping the Senate in session through the holiday, Arizona Republican Sen. Jon Kyl accused him of "disrespecting one of the two holiest of holidays for Christians."

"It is impossible to do all of the things that the majority leader laid out without doing - frankly, without disrespecting the institution and without disrespecting one of the two holiest of holidays for Christians and the families of all of the Senate, not just the senators themselves but all of the staff," Kyl said Tuesday.

Reid took to the Senate floor to respond, calling comments by Kyl and Republican South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint - who threatened to delay Senate votes - "sanctimonious lectures."

"Yet some of my Republican colleagues have the nerve to whine about having to stay in action to do the work that the American people pay us to do," Reid said. "We could work, as most Americans do, during the holidays. Perhaps Senators Kyl and DeMint have been in Washington too long."

Republican South Dakota Sen. John Thune criticized Democrats for their handling of the timeline.

"Staying here using the Christmas holiday as a backdrop I think makes the Democrat leadership in the United States Senate look incompetent," Thune said Wednesday.

DeMint also took a jab at Democrats.

"I have no problem working every day until Christmas and beyond to stop this rampage of spending and bad policy, what I object to is Democrats trying to rush through an agenda voters rejected and hoping that Americans are too busy with the holidays to notice," DeMint said in a statement.

The Senate overwhelmingly passed the $858 billion tax cut package Wednesday, but has yet to consider the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill and the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), a nuclear arms agreement between Russia and the United States.

Hoping for more time to debate the treaty, Republicans are attempting to stall the vote until January when the new Congress is sworn in, but Democrats want to pass the legislation before they break for recess.

Last year the Senate remained in session until Christmas, voting on the health care bill December 24.

–CNN's Virginia Nicolaidis, Dana Bash and Ted Barrett contributed to this report


Filed under: Senate • START treaty
soundoff (100 Responses)
  1. Patriot

    The increase of world hatred for the United Statees is directionally proportional to the increase of the influence Republiicans have in American politics.

    December 15, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  2. JennyTX

    Let the Repub bigots go home, then repeal DADT. The country wants it repealed.

    December 15, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  3. ron

    As a cook at Boyne Mountain Resort I will not have a day off untill late January. Would it kill these men and women to work like everybody else in this country?

    December 15, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  4. disgusted

    Work needs to be done. This happens every year. You refuse to work together, so you need to work during holidays. Reap what you sew Senators Lyle and DeMint. And as a Christian, you should know it's not the holiest day, Easter is. And if you take the Christian holidays, why bother working on the holidays of other religions– INCLUDING ISLAMIC holidays. Be fair and consistent. There is a separation of church and state after all.

    December 15, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  5. @Omegaraiel (twitter)

    I want them all to stay in session until they've voted on all the proposals under consideration. Many Americans work over Christmas, including soldiers.

    December 15, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  6. Reality

    Did the Dems forget what the people voted for? We voted you out in an overwhelming majority. To stay in session and use the lame duck to push the policies the majority of Americans do not want is absolutely pathetic. You have been in control for too long and we the people do NOT want you making decisions for us anymore. Did you not get the memo? Leave for Christmas, and come January, the people will once again have a voice.

    December 15, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  7. Marty, FL

    Sen. Kyl has the audacity to complain when he is immorally blocking our national security!

    If Sen. Kyl and others want to go home, they need to finish the work our tax dollars pay the senators to do ASAP and allow for a reasonable vote on START and other legislation supported by the majority of Americans (DADT Repeal, 9/11 Responders Bill, and Defense Authorization).

    December 15, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "If the Republicans would have gotten off their hands eariler in the year there would not be this many bill to vote on"

    Did you not get the memo? They are still firmly sitting on their thumbs, which is a pretty neat-o trick since they all apparently also have their heads in their...

    December 15, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  9. LovesIrony

    Don't like the work hours? Quit, find another job.

    December 15, 2010 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  10. Albo58

    "89 filibusters by the Republicans"? Geez, the typical lib crowd that gravitates to CNN is pathetic! Fact is the Dimwits still have a majority in both houses of Congress and a rubber-stamp President for their taxpayer-ripoff agenda! This is why they have allowed all this legislation to build-up so they can try to jam it through during the holidays. This SHAME Duck Congress needs to be terminated NOW!

    December 15, 2010 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  11. Mark

    Welcome to the real world! Millions of Americans will be working on Christmas including our troops. It's shameful that Republicans did everything they could to block legislation and now they want to go home without finishing their jobs. It's time they start earning their paychecks including those generous tax breaks.

    December 15, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  12. ronalde

    atta boy harry keep them there until new year if you have to,they like to play games well show them that you can play also.

    December 15, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  13. Bob in PA

    Remember what the worst US President (Wilson) and his cronies did to us in 1913 in the dark of night.?

    December 15, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  14. Bill

    Good for Reid. Tell that clown Kyl to take gas. If it were a Republican controlled Senate and they had agenda items to finish, he sure would sing a different tune.

    December 15, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  15. Faithful

    Republicans disrespect Christian values all year - punishing the poor & enriching the rich - and then have the gall to whine about working on Christmas? Try being a year-round Christian, instead of a "CEO Christian." (***Christmas and Easter Only.)

    December 15, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  16. Martin

    Bad idea. There was another time the House worked at Christmas time, it was 1913, and resulted in creation of the Federal Reserve.

    December 15, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  17. GonzoinHouston

    Hey, you guys are on salary; you work 'till the job is done. You want to hose around playing political games all year? Fine, you work through the holidays. The GOP says nothing gets considered until they're happy with the tax cut for the rich (it's all they're interested in). In that case, you have to stay in DC in case the tax bill gets settled, then work 'round the clock to finish everything you've put off.

    December 15, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  18. lmb

    If I had an employee obstructing work and throwing tantrums about working, I'd fire them in a heartbeat. Too bad we don't have yearly elections. I say work until they pass Dream, Start, and DADT!

    December 15, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  19. Geoffrey Sperl

    I hate to inform Kyl, DeMint, and the other Republicans... but Christmas is not that important of a Christian holiday.

    In case any of you forgot, the important part of the story is not the birth, but the death (in fact, if you actually read the Bible as opposed to having people tell you what's in it, you might find the gospels can't agree on most details about the birth).

    So, to Kyl, DeMint, and the other Republicans: Grow up and stop using your faith as a crutch. It's disgusting.

    December 15, 2010 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  20. scieng

    This is more of the typical hate politics of the Democrats. First they hate the middle class by destroying jobs. Then they hate the poor by increasing food costs and cutting benefits. Then they blame it on the GOP for opposing them. Clearly the Dems only respect the ultrarich who they benefit most.

    December 15, 2010 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  21. Chicago Speaks

    How arrogant! Thousands of soldiers overseas would like to spend their Christmas at home as well. Heck, I ony get Christmas Eve and Christmas day off. Most working people have to return to work the next business day after Christmas. Why do you think you should be any different.

    You idiots put yourselves in this position and I think you should all have to stay and work until the work is done. Everyday spent putting the Country on hold by filabustering, grandstanding or delaying a vote should be a day taken from your vacation time. You have a job to do. Now do it or resign. Then you can spend all the time you want at home . . .

    December 15, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  22. Mountaineer

    Keep the Republicans in the Senate until they get their legislative work complete! Since when it is okay for them to just say "NO" and go home!!!!!

    December 15, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  23. Dismayed in Indiana

    "Arizona Republican Sen. Jon Kyl accused him of "disrespecting one of the two holiest of holidays for Christians."

    So, if it is disrespecting one of the two holiest holidays for Christians to make the Senate stay over the holidays, then why isn't Sen. Kyl and the other Republican senators yelling with a loud voice about how businesses are making their employees work ON Christmas itself, let alone not closing up their companies for a week or more during this season? Don't tell me "well, that is the private sector and business owners can do what they feel best serves their personal interests." I counter with, well Senators, you are OUR employees and WE THE PEOPLE demand that you WORK over the holidays just like we do. Who says that YOU deserve to be off for week/weeks or even Christmas day itself when there is work to be done and yet you DEMAND the working class people to work on Christmas day and the week following? Who cares if you can't get everything done, one or two things done is better than NOTHING DONE!!!!

    Stop whining and WORK for a change. If you don't like how WE THE PEOPLE want you to work over the holidays, then you can stop running for re-election or better yet you can QUIT and let us put in someone who really does want a job and WORK!!!!!

    December 15, 2010 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  24. Oregon Calling

    Way to go Senator Reid. I have to work why don't they? Or are they not "hard working Americans"?

    Peace :-)

    December 15, 2010 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  25. ARTraveler

    Hey DeMint, ever hear of separation of church and state. The Constitution doesn't say you get Christmas or even week-ends off. You guys screwed around all year posturing for the right-wingers so live with it. Around the clock, 24/7 until January 4th and finally earn that money you are being paid. Or admit that you really don't care about the country and go home (we already know you don't care).

    December 15, 2010 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
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