Chuck Hagel Deserves Up-Or-Down Vote: McCain

GOP Senator Says No to Filibuster on Pentagon Pick

getty image

By Reuters

Published February 04, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Multi Page

Senator John McCain said on Monday he opposes using a procedural hurdle to block a vote on Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be defense secretary, a stance likely to boost White House confidence that Hagel will win Senate confirmation.

“I do not support a filibuster,” the Arizona Republican told reporters at the Capitol. “I don’t think it’s appropriate and I would oppose such a move.”

McCain, the Republican presidential nominee in 2008, did not say whether he would vote to confirm Hagel.

The former Republican senator faced a barrage of questions about his record from McCain and others last week when he appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

But even before McCain spoke, a source close to the administration of President Barack Obama said the White House believed it would have the votes to get Hagel confirmed.

Administration insiders say their “head count” shows that all 53 Democrats in the Senate, as well as two independents and a handful of moderate Republicans, are likely to vote to confirm Hagel.

Once the 100-member Senate moves to a final vote, all the nominee needs is a simple majority.

Administration officials also said they thought there were enough Republicans - at least five - who would vote with the Democrats to oppose any procedural maneuvers to block Hagel’s nomination.

It’s still unclear how quickly the Hagel nomination can move forward. First he must be approved in committee. Armed Services Committee Chairman Senator Carl Levin, a Democrat, has said the earliest a committee vote on Hagel can take place is this Thursday.

Hagel is believed to have enough votes for committee approval. But a committee vote requires a quorum, and Republicans could force a delay by refusing to participate.

Once a nomination gets out of committee and moves to the Senate floor, any senator can object to a final vote. This is “filibustering” the nomination, and 60 votes are required to overcome such an objection.

Hagel’s most committed opponents are still hoping a small number of Democrats can be persuaded to vote against him, mainly due to questions his critics have raised over whether he is sufficiently supportive of Israel and tough on Iran.

However, several of the most prominent pro-Israel Democrats in the Senate have announced they will be voting for Hagel.

An administration source said three Democrats who had previously been noncommittal - Kristen Gillibrand of New York, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Mark Udall of Colorado - also are expected to vote for Hagel.

On the Republican side, two senators have declared their intent to vote for Hagel: Thad Cochran of Mississippi and Mike Johanns of Nebraska, Hagel’s home state.

Two moderate Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, are likely votes for Hagel, though they have not announced their intentions, a White House official said. This would bring the pro-Hagel total, including with Democrats and independents, to 59.

In addition, Senator Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, told MSNBC last week that although he plans to vote against Hagel on the Senate floor, he likely would not support a filibuster against Hagel.

As a result, pro-Hagel head-counters believe there may already be 60 Senate votes to clear procedural hurdles - even without McCain.

The principal public campaigns against Hagel have been mounted by special interest groups, including the Republican Jewish Coalition, whose website lists casino mogul and major conservative donor Sheldon Adelson as one of its directors.

Matthew Brooks, the group’s director, said the coalition was engaged in a “very aggressive outreach” effort to lobby Republican senators to vote against Hagel.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.