Senate Majority Leader
's plan to work on a
bill Sunday is drawing jeers from other members and staff who call it an affront to Christians in the Senate. Angry
are letting the late
Sen. Robert Byrd speak for them through a 2004 speech in which he said Sundays are for church, not partisan budget bickering in
.Reid announced the Sunday session this morning as he was laying out plans to pass the tax compromise, take up consideration of the START nuclear arms deal, the DREAM Act, and the long-overdue fiscal 2011 budget. In his morning address, he also asked that no senator ask that the whole START treaty be read on the floor of the Senate, reasoning that members have had long enough to read it in their offices.Republicans aren't publicly whining, but instead are distributing the Byrd speech and a clip from
warning that the city will face mass hysteria of Biblical proportions if a Sunday session is held.The Byrd speech, given when Democrats were in the minority and Republicans were in control, is considered a classic from the Senate expert who died in June. In the speech, pasted in below, he notes that the Senate has had months do talk and vote, making a Sunday session silly. He also said that holding session was an affront to Christians working in the Senate. Check it out below:
SEN. ROBERT BYRD (D-WV): "I will be brief. I am not sure I will use 5 minutes. Mr. President, in my office hangs the Ten Commandments. We have heard a lot about the Ten Commandments in recent years. I believe in the Ten Commandments. I believe we ought to respect those commandments, one of which says: Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy."I am not saying I am a good man. My Bible says that no man is good. No man is good. But I think we ought to show some respect to those Christians in the body, and in our country, and many people who are not Christians, our Jewish friends, who believe in the Ten Commandments. As a matter of fact, the Ten Commandments originate, as we know, at the time when Moses went up on Mount Sinai and was given the tablets by God himself, by the Almighty himself. So we believe that. I am a Christian. I may not be the best one around. I don't claim to be. But I do claim to be a Christian. I believe that way, and I believe that we ought to observe the Ten Commandments."I think that this body, as the greatest legislative body in the world, together with the other body, in particular should set an example of respecting the various religions that make up our nation. That is why I take the floor today. I think we are setting a bad example. I don't think we are showing proper respect to Christians in our country, and all over the world, for that matter, by publicly failing to observe that Commandment, that we keep the Sabbath Day holy and remember it. I want to say I am protesting the fact that we are going to have a vote on tomorrow. I told my leadership I had hoped we wouldn't have votes on tomorrow. I also offered to say, Well, it is fine to have votes after sundown. The old Sabbath ran until sundown. Let's have any votes after sundown. If we have to have votes, let's have them after sundown. I asked my leaders to consider that. They did, and for various reasons they decided not to--that we had to have the vote."I have to say as majority leader, when I was majority leader, I could have easily put this vote over to Monday simply by adjourning and not coming in tomorrow--which I would do, in this case. If this were an emergency, if something suddenly came up and it was a dire emergency, of course. You know the Bible says the ox may be in the ditch and we have to get it out of the ditch. But the ox is not in the ditch here. We have wasted a lot of time this year, and recently. We waste a lot of time. We are not in session when we could be in session. Then all of a sudden, here we are going to have this vote on Sunday . There are practicing Christians who like to go to church and want to observe this commandment.