The end of the lame-duck session is fast approaching, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is trying to stuff as much legislation in as he can before the Democratic majority is severely curtailed when the new session of Congress, with its recently elected tea partiers, commences in early January. There's the omnibus spending bill, which funds government operations, New START, a treaty which would further reduce the nuclear-weapons stockpiles of Russia and the United States, and potentially another crack at "don't ask, don't tell." But in order to fit in everything, Reid is planning to keep the Senate working all the way up to Christmas, and perhaps again following Christmas (you know, like everyone else). Obviously, this is an affront to Jesus and all of America.
As Arizona Republican Jon Kyl complained yesterday:
"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."
And South Carolina's Jim DeMint called the proposed schedule "sacrilegious" today:
"You can't jam a major arms control treaty right before Christmas," [DeMint] told POLITICO. "What's going on here is just wrong. This is the most sacred holiday for Christians. They did the same thing last year - they kept everybody here until (Christmas Eve) to force something down everybody's throat. I think Americans are sick of this."
We don't know about "jamming" the treaty has been publicly available since May, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has held twelve hearings on it, five of which DeMint decided to attend, according to an Obama administration official. But sure, America probably hates it when the Senate works extra hard to pass international treaties vital to the nation's security.
That's why DeMint is protesting Reid's plans by invoking his right to have New START read aloud in its entirety on the Senate floor, which should waste about twelve hours. He's doing the same for the omnibus spending bill, and that reading should last about 60 hours. For someone who wants to go home earlier, it's kind of an odd tactic.
DeMint calls votes before Christmas 'sacrilegious' [Politico]
The War On Pre-Christmas Comes To The Senate [Swampland/Time]
Update: Oh snap. Here's Reid on the Senate floor this afternoon:
"As a Christian, no one has to remind me of the importance of Christmas for all of the Christian faith, for all their families, all across America," he said. "I don't need to hear the sanctimonious lectures of Sen. Kyl and [Sen. Jim] DeMint to remind me of what Christmas means."
"Where were their concerns about Christmas [when they were posing] filibuster after filibuster of every piece of legislation during this entire Congress?"
Update II: DeMint has reportedly dropped his threat to have New START read aloud in its entirety. No word yet on the omnibus bill.