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. Mo

    I completely agree with Harry Reid!!! These idiot Republicans made sure to get this Tax bill through on their time and now they are whining about should they work through Christmas!!! Hell yeah Harry Reid work through Christmas and the holidays. These Republicans shouldn't get any say since they rammed this stupid bill through. Republicans just SHUT UP, quit your WHINING and if you don't want to work then GET OUT and QUIT!!!

    December 15, 2010 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  2. Florida Joe

    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
    ****************
    Really........last time I checked over 70% of Americans want DADT repealed, A bunch of Repubs including former Preident HW Bush support the START treaty...........The President is more popular now than the REPUBS and that's after the election unlike Clinton & GW Bush after they lost seats in the mid-term.........So get some facts........Reality!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 15, 2010 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  3. Mike in Miami

    OK. I love the ones here who say that American People voted overwhelmingly against the items that the Senate is trying to pass. Let's see – DADT repeal favored by 70% of Americans and Military. Start Treaty strongly supported by 5 very senior members of the Republican Party. Dream Act overwhelmingly supported across both parties. Funding our military (Defense Act) – why would you deny our troops what they need. Fact is rebubs blocked major legislation the pat 2 ears – FACT!!! Another fact – the vast majority of working Americans will get only two days off before the New Year. Sorry – but we elected you to do business. You answer to us who elected you and now get to work!!!

    December 15, 2010 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  4. conoclast

    Come on Kyl & deMint, who do you think you're talking to? Preach to your tea-bag choir about the sanctity of Christmas on your own time; while you're on taxpayer time your job is to legislate! The START treaty is bigger than you or your corporate handlers!

    December 15, 2010 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  5. phoenix86

    Bill wrote:

    "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.".

    If it were a Republican controlled Senate, we would not have wasted 2 years on a fatally flawed Obamacare, $1 trillion on a porkulus package that did nothing, 90 days on gays in the milltary.

    We would have an economy growing and unemployment heading down.

    As it is, America lost 2 years with the Obama, Pelosi, Reid Left Fringe agenda.

    December 15, 2010 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  6. red

    Millions of people work during the holiday, why can't congress or are they so special they feel they are above the people that they should have the time off. They just had several weeks off to campaign and also time off for summer much more than the people who elect them into office.

    December 15, 2010 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  7. John

    So what... they don't have to work for us based on a religious holiday? How's that work?

    December 15, 2010 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  8. Online Fellowship

    Wait you don't want to work on Chris-tmas? What about the millions of people whose benefits have run out, who thanks to you have no jobs nor any money coming in. I wonder how they would feel about working through the Holiday? How about you don't work and donate your income to those who don't have any. Or better yet, let the unemployed fill in for you over vacation, I'm sure they could get things done. J-esus would care more about the state of the people than a false sense of worship on the approximate date of his birth. He sacrificed his life for the protection of us and yet some of you are willing to sacrifice the lives of many so that you can sit around the fireplace with your families. Please call it simply the Holidays and not Chris-tmas because what many stand for is in direct opposition of what C-hrist was born, lived and died for.
    Just my humble opinion,

    December 15, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  9. jillib

    Good for Harry Reid – nail those santimonious windbags – they phony "christians". If clowns like Kyl hadn't screwed around and wasted so much time they'd be out of town by now. They have no one to blame but themselves. Out here in "real America", if we're lucky enough to still be working, we're working up to the holiday and then directly thereafter – welcome to our world!

    December 15, 2010 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  10. Sal in NC

    Make them stay in session until our soldiers come home!

    December 15, 2010 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  11. Jeff - Sarasota, Florida

    So, are these the same Christian Republicans that were gonna let everything die on the vine until they got their tax cuts for the riches people...

    It just amazes me some of the things these people on here say... But what really amazes is how so many people on here are taking a shot at the Democrats/Harry Reid over this... I look at it this way, supposedly "The People" spoke in the last election that they (the people) wanted things differently... Now you have a Democrat wanting to stay and finish the job the people elected and pay them to do and the republicans are the ones not wanting to do it, yet the Dems are getting bashed for it... It is no wonder the Republican party gets away with so much and still gets reelected in, they have such foolish sheeple supporting them...

    December 15, 2010 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  12. PDXSerric

    The unemployed can’t stop being unemployed just because it’s Christmas. The homeless, the uninsured, those in need… they can’t suddenly go home for the holidays.

    "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."

    For once, I agree wholeheartedly with Reid. Stop your kvetching and get working. If you want to get the work done by the holiday, then stop whining and get the work done.

    "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.

    Yeah, no. The SENATE looks incompetent all on their own. Republican, Democrat – that doesn’t matter. The fact these adult children seem only to be capable of schoolyard bullying and in-house fighting rather than actually doing what they are supposed to do FOR the American people makes them look incompetent.

    December 15, 2010 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  13. alpha_nu_916

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

    You have a first hand account of what happened in 1913? If so, you must be well into your hundreds.

    December 15, 2010 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  14. Who Cares?

    Kyl using Christianity once again as a blunt weapon truly shows just how bankrupt and soulless that clown is.

    December 15, 2010 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  15. Mike in Texas

    How many of these whiny Senators voted to send our troops to fight in Iraq and abroad. These brave men and women aren't going to be able to see spend Christmas with their loved ones.

    As for the person calling themselves Reality. This is the Senate, not the house. The Dems still have control. Whiner. If it were the opposite you would be doing a 180.

    December 15, 2010 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  16. PDXSerric

    "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.

    Okay – that that's ONE republican in favor of staying as long as it takes. Or is that just a soundbyte to puff his chest with?

    December 15, 2010 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  17. Kenneth Close

    Filibuster: That should solve all the problems.....unless it lasts till Christmas.

    December 15, 2010 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  18. doolindalton

    Since the Republicans have yet to break a legislative sweat for the past two years (how much effort does it take to say, "no?") , it's a little difficult to understand what they are whining about. Put on you big boy diapers Rs and get to work. If you don't like the job, there are plenty of people who would like to have government paid health care, a guaranteed pension and a hefty salary for the privilege of playing corporate messenger boys and complaining that the rich are mistreated.

    December 15, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  19. rdepontb

    Senator Kyl, _you_ of all people have so little respect for the entire planet that it should gall your own staff to have to be associated with you. It galls me as an American to be associdated with you as one of our 100 Senators, elected to look out for the health, welfare, and safety of this nation. Your refusal to accept the pleas of even all living Secretaries of State on START, your game-playing with earmarks, your equally mysterious mocking of the Tea Party, shows the kind of person you have finally become.

    May your holidays be spent taking care of the nation's business this time-the entire nation, not just your own pockets. You jerk.

    December 15, 2010 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  20. DAVE

    did anyone ever think that republicans would not complain about working more than a week or two over the holidays? poor boys they want their 3 week vacation! 1 in every 10 workers in this country is without a job, your house that you own is worth sometimes half of what yoiu paid for it your 401k is on life support and russia is about to restart the cold war because the start treaty has still not passed . these guys have not worked a five day week in a long time. the best one is that one of these republicans wants to have the start treaty be read word for word just to show his power! the one thing i have concluded in my life of 60 years is republicans care mostly about themseleves and don't give a crap about anyone else or their problems as well as the very country they get paid by. work close to christmas! give me a break!

    December 15, 2010 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  21. GOP Taliban Victim

    Jon Kyl is just a lazy bum. Earn your paycheck you deadbeat GOP activist and get to work like the rest of us have to do.

    December 15, 2010 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  22. mikael

    I would figured it this way, they can have christmas vacation like every other fed worker, they get friday off and the weekend and thats it. why should they be any better than anyone else, also give them a half day travell. here is the thing my partner is a fedral employee , he gets no more than that off, if anything they are the ones that should be working overtime since this country is in crisis but you can watch them when they are on the floor , half of them are napping.

    December 15, 2010 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  23. Rob

    Solution, read the darn bill's and go vote on them. Let the votes decide!

    December 15, 2010 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  24. cjr

    give me a break -the reds are whiners – bohner cries- kyle lies- and the rest of them are idiots. I'm not happy with Obama either – so even he does run again – I'm voting for the Christine from DE! Enough is enough!

    December 15, 2010 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  25. Rob

    Keep trying to tell yourself your obstructionism is the will of the people when the public overwhelmingly supports the repeal of DADT, when the public overwhelmingly supports the START treaty. Selfish bunch of politicians full of themselves. Do your job and then you can go home.

    December 15, 2010 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
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