Vice President Biden issued a stern warning to Senate Republicans to "get out of the way" of Democrats trying to ratify a nuclear arms treaty.

The vice president sharply criticized Senate Republicans who have opposed ratification of the New START Treaty during the lame-duck session of Congress.

"Get out of the way. There's too much at stake for America's national security," Biden said in an interview with NBC News that will air Friday in its entirety on MSNBC.

Biden's warning to Republicans comes after a day of high-stakes wrangling over the nuclear arms treaty between the U.S. and Russia, which President Obama has made known is his top foreign policy priority at the moment.

The Senate voted to begin debate, set for Thursday, on the treaty, but only after Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) backed off a threat earlier on Thursday to force a delay in debating the treaty by forcing a ceremonial reading of its entire text.

Sixty-six senators voted to begin debate, and 67 votes are needed for ratification. (Two senators, Evan Bayh, D-Ind., and Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., missed the vote.) But while the procedural vote on Wednesday bolstered hopes of ratification, the fate of the treaty is still very much in the air.

"Do not stand in the way of the nation's best interests. Let the Senate vote," Biden said to Senate Republicans in his interview.

The Senate's ability to cut through the New START agreement affects its ability to handle a number of unfinished items still left on the agenda. The Senate still has to address a repeal of "Don't ask, don't tell," a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill, the DREAM Act and a defense authorization bill, and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans work throughout the weekend and next week to address those items.

Biden drew on his own experience as a longtime senator to chastise GOP members who've complained about whether it's proper for Congress to rush through all of those issues before the Christmas holiday.

"And don't tell me about Christmas; I understand Christmas," said Biden, a devout Roman Catholic. "There's 10 days between now and Christmas. I hope I don't get in the way of your Christmas shopping, but this is the nation's business."