Senators argue over Christmas
December 15th, 2010
04:59 PM ET
12 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)

    Hey, I have to work on Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Years and I get no extra pay for doing so. So Republicans should stop whinning. The ironic thing is that I work in Las Vegas Sen. Reids home state and you don't here us complaning about working on or through Christmas.

    December 15, 2010 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  2. Max

    maybe if the No Party actually allowed work to get done and actually debated instead of fillibustering whenever they don't get every single thing they want, they'd be on holiday break already.

    December 15, 2010 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  3. Dr Matrix

    Kyl is my senator and he sucks. A lot of the population, like those that don't make minimum wage or say welcome to Walmart for a living, have to worl untll the job is done, all nighters, weekends, holidays. I've worked them all. So thay can all suck it up and start doing what we pay them to do and niether party has had the stones to do. I firmly advocate nuclear wepons testing in DC when the government is in session. Flush the toilet and start over.

    December 15, 2010 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  4. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Boo hoo hoo... Why don't you try working when you're supposed to?

    Or you could always quit if you don't like the working conditions...

    December 15, 2010 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Sen Kyl- welcome to the REAL world! Many companies are staying open for a half day on the 24th – you certianly can work until the 23 then fly home like so many other Americans. you already are out of Washington so often ,nothing gets done- stay there and catch up on your work- like the rest of us!
    Still wonder why your approval rating are so low you arrogant putz?

    December 15, 2010 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  6. Sgt Joe

    "To stop this rampage of spending" says DeMint. Laughable! The majority of Americans did not want to extend the tax cuts to the wealthy; does he care about that? Of course not. Tough crap, GOP. I say work for a change and if that means you work through a holiday, well join the rest of us middle class who often must do the same to get by. The GOP are a bunch of whining "mamby pambies" to coin a phrase from one of my fav. guys.

    December 15, 2010 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  7. KVan11

    They need to stay until January 3rd if necessary to strip the spending bill FULL of earmarks! This is can these people look in the mirror each morning. We have military personnel who will miss the holidays and not because they're a bunch of idiots like these politicians!

    December 15, 2010 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  8. Ben Ben

    Republicans are so not Christians. I don't see why they even put up the facade anymore. We all know they truly dont follow Christ and His teachings.

    December 15, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  9. Death Panel Sarah

    Yeah.....there's nothing more important than disrespecting Christmas...not even nuclear war!!!

    December 15, 2010 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  10. Death Panel Sarah

    The republicans held the start treaty up this long....they could have been finished by now, if they hadn't held everything hostage to the tax cuts for the rich!!!

    December 15, 2010 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  11. Bessy

    Ah!! Poor babies !!! Have they ever considered all of the people who have to work many weekends as well as holidays. The military, nurses, doctors, police, emergency workers of all kind, etc. Of course these people don't matter to the Repugs. They are only the people who contribute to their huge salaries and health care package. Stay in Washington and get the job done you cry babies.

    December 15, 2010 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  12. stan

    II would think there are a whole lot of people that would welcome the chance to work at all – even through Christmas. Quit grandstanding and get to work.

    December 15, 2010 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  13. more lies from HUSSENI obama

    wish someone would give him his bag of coal, he doesnt get it, he is an idiot just like the rest

    December 15, 2010 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  14. CaliforniaBC

    Basically, it's time for the Republicans to suck it up and do some work for once. They obstructed for 2 years and now that they got their WEALTHFARE bill passed they want to go home but you know what you whiny little children, NOW it is time to pass the legislation you held up in lieu of getting the tax cuts for the rich passed.


    December 15, 2010 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  15. Proud member of "Global Zero"

    Don't even get me started. Be happy you have a job. 9.8% of this country would trade places with you. Think about that.

    December 15, 2010 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  16. they call me "tater salad"

    Oh, and on a side note............Albo58 is obviously just another one of your typical clueless, garden variety type, "speak first, think second" fan of the Fukt Noise Network...... "nothing" more, "nothing" less............NEXT!!!!!!!!

    December 15, 2010 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  17. Clwyd

    The Repulsives in the Party of No have shown that they have only themselves in mind and not the American public. This is just another example and wait, there are more coming that you idiots elected in November!

    December 15, 2010 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  18. Liz the First

    If the rethugs had been doing their jobs all year, they'd be home for Christmas! they all deserve nothing but lumps of coal this year for all the damage they've done to this country!

    December 15, 2010 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  19. Phillip

    Christmas is a joyous and celebratory day. But the holiest day, Sen. Kyl, would be Easter. Stop wearing religion on your sleeve and go to work.

    December 15, 2010 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  20. Carmelle

    They have no problem shutting govt down, but complain when it's time to get things done!

    What's wrong with those ppl!!!!???

    December 15, 2010 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  21. Death Panel Sarah

    Sooo....everybody who has to work on Christmas is disrespecting the holiday????
    What about disrespecting JESUS on healthcare????
    What would JESUS say about today's Republicans????

    December 15, 2010 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  22. Death Panel Sarah

    I want the ELITE running my country....I don't want drunken slobs or "unintelligent" people trying. It is what is best for any country for the 'best and brightest' to run it....unless you want to live in a third world country!!!!

    December 15, 2010 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  23. Willa-PA

    He is talking about disrepect???What a hypocrite???That is exactly what the GOP has been doing the past 2 years to the American people and the President. What a load of bull.

    December 15, 2010 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  24. Barara A Tronsgard

    I am a retired professor in nursing & I always worked the holiday seasons. I see no problem with both sides to continue through the holiday. As a nurse, I had the option to work either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. The same occurred during New Years. I believe with the salaries that the Congress obtains they should work during the holidays. I believe that this would show all of us as Americans that they really do care and what to obtain what is best for this country!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 15, 2010 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  25. vic nashville tn

    For fire fighters, police and first responders no Christmas republicans senators didn’t care about 9/11 first responders why they need Christmas leave

    December 15, 2010 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
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