Vice President Joe Biden won’t be lectured by Republicans about killing Christmas.
“Don’t tell me about Christmas,” said Biden, a former Delaware senator, in an interview with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell. “I understand Christmas. I've been a senator for a long time. I've been there many years where we go right up to Christmas.”
Republicans said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s plan to keep senators working through the holidays was “sacrilegious” and all around un-Christian. In a sneak peak at Biden’s interview with Mitchell, which will air in full later today, the vice president said that there’s too much at stake with America’s national security to worry about missing the holidays. Still on the table for lawmakers is a nuclear-arms treaty with Russia, the budget, “don’t ask, don’t tell,” along with other important issues.
“I hope I don't get in the way of your Christmas shopping, but this is the nation's business,” Biden said.
Among the complainers was Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, who said that working through the holiday was “disrespectful of one of the two major Christian holidays of the year.”
South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint also said that keeping everybody in session through Christmas Eve is both "sacrilegious" and "disrespectful."
Reid did not take well to the string of comments, which paint him as the grinch who stole Christmas from lawmakers. Reid said he doesn’t need "sanctimonious lectures" about the meaning of the holiday and argued that senators should be working like most Americans do, right up until the holidays.
The clip from the interview aired during Morning Joe, and host Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman, argued that it's “deeply offensive” to call Reid "sacreligious," reminding senators that this isn't the first time lawmakers have had to miss their holidays for a vote. “I remember we were voting on impeachment on December 19th or 20th back in 1999. No one was throwing baby Jesus under the bus that year,” Scarborough said.