GOP Senators Call Christmas Senate Session “Sacrilegious”

Yesterday Harry Reid floated the possibility that the Senate may return to work during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day to complete it’s work. This announcement immediately brought forth a series of strong, bizarre, and quite honestly absurd comments from a few Republican Senators.  First, Arizona’s John Kyl called this possibility an attack on people of Christian faith:

“I appreciate that the majority leader has everyone tugging on his sleeves: his Democratic counterparts in the House, his Democratic colleagues, the White House, and even occasionally some Republicans. And it’s hard to say no,” Mr. Kyl said. “But at some point you can no longer with a straight face, I think, carry the proposition that we are going to do this whole long list of things before the Christmas recess.”

Mr. Kyl added, ” 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.”

Then, today, South Carolina’s Jim DeMint echoed Kyl’s rhetoric and suggested that the very idea of the Senate being in session during the Christmas season is sacrilegious:

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) called Democrats’ push to force through an arms control treaty and an omnibus spending bill right before Christmas “sacrilegious,” and warned he’d draw the process out to wage his objections.

“You can’t jam a major arms control treaty right before Christmas,” he 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.”

DeMint has demanded a full reading of the treaty, a process that could push the chance for a vote closer to Christmas unless Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pulls the measure from the floor.

Reid didn’t take the comments from DeMint and Kyl well at all:

Reid took to the floor Wednesday afternoon and defended jamming through a packed lame-duck agenda in the final days of the session, blaming Republicans for stalling legislative business throughout the year.

“As a Christian, no one has to remind me of the importance of Christmas for all of the Christian faith, all their families across America,” he said. “I don’t need to hear the sanctimonious lectures of Sens. Kyl and DeMint to remind me of what Christmas means.”

Obviously that doesn’t bode well for a peaceful resolution of what is quickly becoming a hot tempered dispute but, then again, neither does engaging in a stupid stunt like asking that the entire text of the START Treaty and the Omnibus Spending Bill be read aloud in the Senate for no other purpose than delaying debate. Both sides of the aisle have a share of the blame for the fact that the Senate’s business for the years still has not been completed. The only truly innocent parties here are the Senate staffers who may be forced to delay time with family if the Senate stays into session close to the Christmas holidays. Nonetheless, if there is work that needs to be done I’ve got to say that the argument Senators will be inconvenienced is hardly persuasive to me. More importantly, though, the inane demagoguery of Kyl and DeMint that keeping the Senate in session close to Christmas is somehow an insult to Christians is so incredibly stupid that it doesn’t even need to be taken seriously.

FILED UNDER: Congress, US Politics, , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. An Interested Party says:

    The War on Christmas continues!

    I wonder if Kyl and DeMint are either stupid or cynical…or maybe a bit of both…

  2. Tano says:

    Now if these kind gentlemen would only introduce legislation giving all federal workers a week of paid holidays between Christmas and New Years, so that these workers could also make sure not to insult Christianity, then maybe we should take them seriously.

    What utter morons….

    Oh, and this is the best part…
    ““You can’t jam a major arms control treaty right before Christmas,”

    Imagine – what could more contrary to the spirit of Christmas than signing a treaty to lower the number of nuclear weapons in the world?

  3. G.A.Phillips says:

    ***This is the most sacred holiday for Christians.***Dude stop talking like a Muslim! And more like for government and union workers……….

    How about you donate your vacation time and pay to the troops and stay at your plush millionaire making cushy job til you DO SOMETHING!!!!!!!!

  4. wr says:

    I wonder if any of these Republicans in Congress has ever met a person who was worth less than a couple million dollars. No wonder they think people who take unemployment are all crooks and druggies, when they believe every Christian has the wherewithal to take off unlimited days of work if they happen to fall within several weeks of a holiday.

  5. sam says:

    “How about you donate your vacation time and pay to the troops and stay at your plush millionaire making cushy job til you DO SOMETHING!!!!!!!!”

    Right On, GA!

    BTW, I’ve always thought Easter was the most sacred day on the Christian calendar. I mean, that’s the day on which the promise was fulfilled, no? Sen. Deminted needs to brush up on his theology, I think

  6. Jessica says:

    I was so ANGRY when I heard that these two precious senators made these comments… I could only think of how selfish they are because they obviously did not think once of the troops and the families whom pray each day for their safe return. Servicemembers sacrifice so much more than spending time off for holidays. They miss births of their new babies, birthdays, anniversaries, funerals, family events, majority of holidays to mention a few things they miss. They miss the mundane day to day things that their children do as they grow up without their mom or dad being deployed for bullsh*t political reasons. I almost never write members of the government especially if they are not even in the current state I reside in as I go where the army sends my husband, but I had to write these two. I am sure I wont get a reply. They will likely get their times with their families while families with deployed loved ones pray for their safety to make it through the holidays and that their children understand why their parent has to miss another christmas.

  7. Dan Aronson says:

    The disconnect between those governing and those they govern has gotten so vast that each is literally operating in alternate realities. And make no mistake about it, there is only one Beltway Reality, and its warped views extend to both sides of the aisle.

    We must unite behind leaders who aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and work 250 days a year for 12 hours a day, you know, like the rest of America does. Check out I think they have the right idea.