Senators are debating whether it is right to do the people's business so close to Christmas.
It began with Republican senators Jim DeMint of S. Carolina and Jon Kyl of Arizona strongly suggesting that efforts by Senate Democrats to get a 2011 spending bill as well as a nuclear-arms reduction treaty passed before the holiday break was somehow anti-Christmas. In fact, DeMint on Wednesday suggested it was downright "sacrilegious." On Tuesday, Kyl accused Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, of setting up a voting schedule on the issues that would disrespect "one of the two holiest of holidays for Christians."To read more of Reid's comments follow the link.
Reid has suggested he would keep the Senate in session beyond its planned Friday recess to get work done. By Wednesday afternoon, an annoyed Reid took to the Senate floor to call out his Republican colleagues for what he characterized as sanctimonious whining - and suggested that the holiday-as-an-excuse delay in acting on the START Treaty and the omnibus spending bill may not play well with Americans who "don't get two weeks off, let alone one week off for Christmas."
More about Reid's plans as reported this afternoon in the Washington Post:
Harry Reid just talked to reporters about the timeline of don't ask don't tell, New START, and other last-minute initiatives. For those who want to see DADT repealed, there was both good news and bad news. The good news: Reid appeared to commit to holding the vote on the stand-alone repeal bill. And he vowed to prolong the session if necessary to get it and other things done. The bad news: He said he might not schedule the DADT repeal vote before Christmas. This has aides on the Hill worried.Read on for the worry.
Asked if he would bring up DADT repeal to a vote, Reid said: "I don't know if I'll bring it up before Christmas." But he also clarified that the Senate would hold a vote on DADT and START "before this Congress ends."Even better, Reid added: "We are in session, if necessary, up to January 5th. That is the clock our Republican colleagues need to run out. It's a long clock."
One Senate aide involved with the talks points out, however, that not holding the vote on DADT before Christmas is taking a big risk.