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)
  1. katiec

    If there had not been 89 fillibusters conducted by the republicans, perhaps more would have been accomplished.
    When a political party does everything they can to block, defeat all policies that come along, then has the nerve
    to complain about time constraints, they once again prove how hypocritical they are.
    Ky;e has been blocking the imperative START treaty, and, DeMint tries to block everything that comes along.
    They are a sad, dispicable, embarressing example of what some politicians have become.

    December 15, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  2. Indie Woman in Denver

    If the Repubs hadn't stalled for all these months, they would be done by now. Don't blame Harry Reid for your own, obstructionist behavior, guys, and stop the whinning. We, the American taxpayers, pay you to our work, not sit around and complain. As Nike says, JUST DO IT!

    December 15, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  3. ja

    our soldiers aren't coming home for Christmas, legislators ought stay until the the job is done also, undoubtedly most days are like for you, be patriotic, as you claim

    December 15, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  4. cisco4

    Ho Ho.. Santa Claus.. Republicans.!. You got the money to the richest 1% again..?.. Santa delivers on Christmas should know that.. Now get down to business and help us Americans.. in the lower income brackets.. Or are we turning to a Banana Republic of the Rich 1% who are holding Trillions in money and hiring no one at all..merry Christmas!

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

    You go, Aharry!
    Make those deadbeat repubs actually get some work done!
    I serves them right to be late for Christmas.

    December 15, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  6. Mad man

    Why would Kyl think that Pelosi and Reid would give a crap about Christmas, you know it is all about the "word". Progressive liberal elite do not believe in God, they cannot intellectually explain his existence therefore he is a myth for the unintelligent non-Harvard educated gun toters, they see it simply a tool for control of the masses...

    December 15, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  7. stufit

    If the democrat liberals hadn't screwed around trying to steal our money in the Obozocare bill, this stuff that actually creates jobs and helps the economy could already be done and the dems could be working on their wet dream stuff, currying votes from the nooks and crannies of society and the non-effective, security weakining START treaty instead of important things. But it was more important, and continues to be more important to them to steal our money, imagine, you pay taxes on your income and investment several times, then they want to tax it again when you die. Vultures, unholy vultures, picking the bones of the dead and their grieving families so the dope smokers can avoid work and watch Oprah.

    December 15, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  8. Duck Fallas

    Exactly! Working on Christmas is blasphemy!

    Bring ALL the troops home before Christmas.

    Let the structure fires burn themselves out.

    Criminals- have a field day.

    Heart attack? Sorry! Can it wait 'til Monday?

    December 15, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  9. svscnn

    How's that filibustering working out for you now GOP Senators?

    Guess you should've gotten the people's business done earlier instead of grandstanding for the wealthy, huh?


    December 15, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  10. aaron c

    If the Republicans would have gotten off their hands eariler in the year there would not be this many bill to vote on. If they want to go home let them. 51 is a majority.

    December 15, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  11. Bob in PA

    Harry Reid is a greedy ole sole.

    December 15, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  12. ingrid

    Whine whine ... Do your jobs: Kyle, DeMint and Thune!

    December 15, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  13. DIANA

    How about the disrespect you show towards the American people. You threaten to fillibuster the unemployed's lifeline so you could help out your rich friends. Most Republicans aren't really Christian anyway – just look at the way they behave.

    December 15, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  14. BestProfitBusiness = WAR

    STFU Senators and get to work! You deadbeats have too much vacation time and need to spend more time at work! Talking about you, rethuglicans!

    December 15, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  15. Uh Oh!!

    Repubs, don't want to work during the holidays...aww poor babies. I see that you guys are completely out of touch with reality. 1. People are suffering over christmas and past recent holidays as well so you staying to me means nothing 2. Work needs to be done and thats what "the people" elected you for and it's not getting done in the given time so do what normal people do and stay if you have to till it gets done 3. Stop complaining about doing your job unless you do not want it anymore 4. Congress has recesses almost every other month they you guys voted on to benefit yourselves so i don't care how long you imbicles need to stay. DO YOUR JOBS!!! oh to the new repub congress WHERE ARE ALL THE JOBS!!!!!!!!

    December 15, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  16. DJ in TX

    The GOP are the ones who delayed ALL bills from consideration. This is just a stall tactic by the GOP. The START treaty is important and needs to be considered. Evem former GOP heavyweights foreign policy makers have said so. So why whine about it. Look, I have to work until Christmas, I don't mind our lawmakers who make 3 times as much as do working. They are so used to perks, it kills them to be an ordinary working American from time to time and work through the holidays like we do.........................

    December 15, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  17. michaelCO

    Do the work your paid to do. it doesnt disrespect the holiday if your off by noon on Christmas Eve. Most Americans work right up to Christmas and then return the following Monday. If Republicans believe I am disrespecting Christmas because i am a working stiff, then forget them.

    December 15, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  18. GI Joe

    Earn your money, Kyl. A lot of us have had to work thru holidays in our lives. EARN YOUR MONEY, DO YOUR JOB INSTEAD OF WASTING MONEY AND TIME WHINING ALL THE TIME.

    December 15, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  19. annie s

    stufit, it is beyond me that anyone can blame the Democrats for the despicable behavior of the Republicans the last two years. 89 filibusters and a determination to black any effective legislation except their hand out to the rich. You call the Dems vultures. I call them defenders of the middle class.

    December 15, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  20. Peter Schatz

    89 fillibusters? Serves the republicans right. Give em hell, Harry.

    December 15, 2010 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  21. Rick McDaniel

    The Dems know, they have the best chance to pass legislation now, and that will drop dramatically, in January, when the house shifts to GOP control.

    December 15, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  22. Former Republican - Now Independent

    I respect a man or woman who does the job he or she was hired to do until the last minute before they go off on a holiday and people like Senator Kyl do not fit the bill.

    December 15, 2010 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  23. justwondering

    Reid hit the nail on the head – "sanctimonious lectures."

    December 15, 2010 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    Thanks Kyl. Someone had to say it so that everyone could hear just how stupid, absurdist, petty, irrational and self-serving it really sounds.

    Hey, 99% of the country who still have a job and have to work on the Monday following Xmas weekend...what do you think YOUR boss would say if you went to him/her and said "You know, you're disrespecting the most holy of Krischun Nashun holies by making me come to work on the Monday following Xmas's sacrilege and I won't tolerate it!" Hmmm?

    December 15, 2010 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  25. GI Joe

    Howss all that time wasted on filibusters fittin' into your schedule now?

    December 15, 2010 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
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