Republican Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R) has a bone to pick with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D). The Democratic leader of the Senate has publicly said that Republicans shouldn’t count on being able to delay votes until the Christmas break and go home for the rest of the year, saying to reports that “there’s still Congress after Christmas” recently.
Continuing to keep the Senate in session through the end of the year would be disrespecting Christmas, according to Sen. Kyl.
Sen. Reid was pretty explicit in his statement:
“So if the Republicans think that they can stall and stall and stall that we take a break, we’re through, we’re not through. Congress ends on January 4th. So we’re going to continue working on this stuff until we get it done, or we have up-and-down votes and find that it can’t happen that way.”
In response to Sen. Reid’s statements, Sen. Kyl had this to say:
“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.”
There’s a simple solution, Mr. Kyl… The Senate Republicans can signal their willingness to continue with the process of actual legislation, having aye-or-nay votes on the small number of issues that are still targeted for the 2010 Senate agenda.
Key pieces of legislation potentially up for review include “the START nuclear arms treaty, the DREAM Act, a bill that would overturn the military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy, and a highly contentious spending bill that would authorize federal spending for next year.” These are important pieces of legislation, with many strong opinions on both sides of the aisle (and throughout the American public) and the Senate minority should not be allowed to sit on their hands and refuse to legislate until it’s time to go on Christmas break.
The bottom line is this, Republican Senators: If you want to go home for Christmas break, demonstrate that you’re willing to at least act in good faith towards a yes-or-no vote on these small number of important issues. Sticking your fingers in your ears and scrunching your eyes shut ’til Christmas does not negate your responsibility to have meaningful debate and ultimately issue a vote on key legislative issues. If you want to go home, get your job done first, like the rest of us.
I, for one, don’t think I could get away with telling my boss that I would only agree to do certain pieces of work from now through my vacation next week, and would refuse to take up any tasks or responsibilities that I didn’t think were the right ones.
Or more accurately, I could certainly tell him that, but I damned sure wouldn’t be allowed to keep collecting a paycheck and return to work after the holidays.