By Alexander Bolton - 12/15/10 07:50 PM EST
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) slammed Senate Republican leaders as “sanctimonious” for claiming that Democrats are being disrespectful of Christmas.
Senators’ tempers are running high as Christmas approaches and they face a backlog of legislation, threats of filibusters and other delaying tactics, and the likelihood of working late at night and over the weekend.
“I don’t need to hear the sanctimonious lectures of Sens. Kyl and DeMint to remind me of what Christmas means,” Reid said during a Senate floor speech Wednesday afternoon.
Kyl suggested Tuesday that Reid would be on the verge of “disrespecting one of the two holiest days for Christians” by pushing the Senate to work on the omnibus spending bill and the New START nuclear treaty right up until Dec. 25.
Reid on Tuesday warned that he may call senators back after Christmas to finish work on legislation, including the Dream Act, which would grant legal residency to the children of illegal immigrants who meet certain conditions.
DeMint said it would be “sacrilegious” to hold votes on the $1.1 trillion spending package and the treaty immediately before Christmas.
Reid responded that Republicans were to blame for extending the session up until Christmas.
“My question, Madam President, is where were their concerns about Christmas as we’ve had filibuster after filibuster on major pieces of legislation during this entire Congress,” said Reid, who accused Republicans of deploying the tactic 87 times.
Reid said Senate Republicans have “used every procedural trick in the book to delay legislation.”
DeMint announced this week that he would force the Senate clerks to read the entire START treaty before senators can consider it. Forcing a reading of the treaty is expected to take 10 to 12 hours and could keep the Senate in session until 2 a.m. Thursday morning.
“These are additional days of wasted time we could be using to pass legislation to get home for the holidays,” Reid said. “Yet some of my Republican colleagues have the nerve to whine about having to stay and actually do the work of the American people.”
Reid later in the afternoon agreed to postpone consideration of START until Thursday morning to spare staff the ordeal of reading the 17-page treaty and 165-page protocol.