(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