Last night on the Senate floor, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) complained that it had been a “week from hell” due to having to work on “big issues.” He then grumbled that he had been too busy “stopping some bad ideas” and therefore had no time “to think about START.” Nevermind that the New START treaty was completed in April, giving Graham and his staff eight months to “think about” the treaty. Graham stated:
In conclusion to my colleagues, its been a week from hell. Its been a week where you are dealing with a lot of big issues from taxes to funding the government to special interest politics. And I’ve had some time to think about START but not a lot and its really wearing on the body…
Here we are a week before Christmas Eve and we’ve talked about a lot of stuff — some important some politics — and this is the first time I’ve really had the chance to talk about START so I’m not blaming anybody, but please don’t blame me that I’ve somehow just ignored START, because we’ve been pretty busy around here stopping some bad ideas or at least trying to.
Graham’s speech follows the admission of Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), indicating that the objective of the GOP is to simply obstruct on issue after issue.
On the New START treaty, Republicans demanded ample time because they wanted to offer amendments to the treaty — nevermind that for all intents and purposes treaties cannot be amended. Yet during the three days of debate, Republicans stalled and refused to bring any amendments forward, choosing instead to waste hours of floor time complaining about Senate process on other issues — all time that could have been devoted to amendments or actually discussing the treaty. It wasn’t until 4:00 pm on Friday that Republicans finally submitted an amendment for debate, which pushed the debate on START late into Friday evening.
Senate Republicans had complained that Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) was being “disrespectful” of Christians by possibly forcing them the hardship of working the week before Christmas. Indeed, Senator Reid has said he will provide the 6-7 days of debate on the START treaty that Republicans have demanded, which would entail working into next week. Since it is clear that the Senate will be in session for as long as is necessary, there is an easy way for Senator Graham and his colleagues to have a long and restful Christmas vacation: stop delaying and obstructing the business of the Senate.