Reid to Republicans: ‘There’s still Congress after Christmas’

Earlier today, Greg Sargent explicitly explained the critical role played by Majority Leader Harry Reid in the effort to pass the DADT language:

The announcement this morning that House Dems will vote on their own stand alone bill to repeal don’t ask don’t tell catapults the ball back into Harry Reid’s court. If repeal is going to have any chance, the Senate Majority Leader needs to indicate right now that the Senate will definitely vote on the stand-alone bill after the House sends it over.

Senate aides involved in the discussions want Reid to make it clear that this vote is a certainty before the end of the lame duck session, not just something on the wish list. They want the White House to urge Reid to commit. They point out that repeal got a major reprieve today, when the House agreed to introduce its own bill — and they want Reid and the White House to capitalize on this momentum.

This afternoon, via Brian Beutler, we didn’t get the exact timing, but the Majority Leader told his colleagues that they’re staying in session til all the work is done, including DADT:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid threatened to keep the Senate in session after Christmas, all the way up to the beginning of next Congress if the GOP doesn’t get out of the way and allow votes on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal, the START treaty and other key Democratic initiatives.

“There’s still Congress after Christmas. So if the Republicans think that because they can stall and stall and stall that we take a break we’re through — we’re not through,” Reid said. Congress ends on January 4.”

“We’re not through” includes passing the DADT bill. Via Glenn Thrush at Politico:

Reid ticked off a number of priorities he would like to address before this congress officially ends in January: The START Treaty, the DREAM Act, the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell” and other legislative matters.

Lot to do, not much time. On DADT, Reid’s exact words were:

We have to — if the House completes work on “don’t ask/don’t tell” we’ll have to work on that.

Yes, they will. Via the Speaker, the House will vote tomorrow, Wednesday, December 15th.

I’m sure many Senators are freaked out by the news that they may have to work over the holidays. Tough. This is what most Americans do. They get a day or two off for Christmas, then get right back to work.

Sometimes, with members of Congress, it’s the threat that gets them motivated to work. We’ll see. Mitch McConnell runs a tight ship on the GOP side.

UPDATE @ 4:34 PM: I’ve posted Reid’s full remarks after the break.

Here’s what Reid said this afternoon:

REID: We have made some progress since we visited with you last Thursday. We still have the same number of things to do, but we have made some progress.

We’ve got — we must complete the tax bill. We hope to do that as early as sometime this evening. We’re going to move as soon as we can to the START treaty. We may have to go back and forth a little bit, because we have to fund the government. There’s going to be a staff briefing on the work that Senator Inouye and his members have done on the funding for the government. That’s sometime this afternoon, over in the Dirksen Building.

Once we complete those three major things, we have other things to do that are extremely important. We’ve got to make sure that we complete work on the DREAM Act. There were some very impassioned presentations made in our caucus today on that.

We have to — if the House completes work on “don’t ask/don’t tell” we’ll have to work on that.

We have the 9/11 situation in New York. We still haven’t give up on that. We have a number of nominations we’re working on.

So if I missed anything, I certainly didn’t mean to.

But we have — I guess my only statement here as to my Republican friends — we’re going to complete the work we have to do here. I want to get out of here just as soon as we can. But we’re not going to walk away from any of the work that we have to do.

I — there are some things that I didn’t mention that are extremely important. We have a lands bill that Senator Bingaman and Senator Baucus have worked on. We’re going to try to work — see if we can get some agreement to move forward on that.

Christmas is a week from Saturday. I understand that. But I hope the Republicans understand it also, because we are going to complete our work, no matter how long it takes, in this Congress. We have to do the work of the American people.

We’ve been stalled and stalled and stalled this whole Congress, and it’s going on right now. To think we’re wasting time now on the 30 hours post-cloture when we have this most important treaty that we could move to. That treaty, we wanted to do it this summer, they said, no, we need to spend more time on it. They spent five or six weeks on more time.

Then they — when we were ready to move to it, they said, no, we have to wait; we don’t want to do it before the election. Let’s wait until after the election.

Now, they want to wait until after the Congress ends. And the time has come that we have to start voting and doing important things that are so important to complete………

QUESTION: (inaudible) slipping through the hours, because there’s only so many grains of sand here that can be moved — you know, moved through before Christmas?

REID: I know how much time we have before Christmas, but remember — and I hate to report all this to you, but, you know, there is still Congress after Christmas. So if the Republicans think that because 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. We’re — we’ll have up-and-down votes and find we — it can’t happen that way. But I understand where Christmas is.


REID: We may have to work on the weekend (inaudible) to get it done.

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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