Senators Christmas Carol Their Way to Approval of Stopgap Government Funding

Live quorum call comes with melody of O Come All Ye Faithful

Christmas carols rang out throughout the Senate on Wednesday as the chamber passed a continuing resolution to fund the government.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A Senate procedural vote turned into sing-along session late Wednesday night as a group of senators gathered for a live quorum call and passed the time by singing Christmas carols, all leading up to a voice vote that passed stopgap spending legislation to avert a partial government shutdown.

The group of senators, which included Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Bill Nelson of Florida, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Angus King of Maine and others gathered together to sing a range of festive tunes.

They belted out Oh, Come All Ye Faithful and Silent Night. Tim Kaine joined in, but did not break out the harmonica he is known to yield in Virginia at venues like the Floyd Country Store. The group, mostly made up of Democrats, sang Winter Wonderland, Noel and Go Tell It On the Mountain.

The size of the group fluctuated between 10 and 15 singers as the vote progressed but, at times included Kamala Harris of California, Chris Coons of Delaware, Tina Smith of Minnesota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana.

When they got to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii took out her cellphone and began recording the session on an app. 

The chamber was voting on a motion to instruct the Sergeant at Arms to request the presence of absent senators.

“With Rudolph voting present,” Arizona’s Jeff Flake said, which closed the 71-21 vote. 

After that, the chamber rather anti-climatically passed the continuing resolution to extend funding for several government agencies to February 8 on a voice vote. 

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