Chuck Hagel Will Get Senate Vote by Friday

Pentagon Pick Appears To Have Support for Confirmation

getty images

By Reuters

Published February 13, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Multi Page

Senate Democrats filed a motion on Wednesday to end debate on the nomination of Chuck Hagel as President Barack Obama’s new secretary of defense after Republicans refused to allow a vote, setting up a showdown vote by Friday.

Democrats are expected to muster the 60 votes needed in the 100-member chamber to clear a Republican procedural roadblock, clearing the way for a vote on his confirmation.

Once the roadblock is cleared, Hagel is expected to win the simple majority he needs to be confirmed.

Democrats control 55 seats in the Senate and none has come out against Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska who has faced fierce opposition from members of his own party.

At least two of the 45 Republicans in the chamber have said they would vote for Hagel’s confirmation, and several others, including Maine Senator Susan Collins on Wednesday, have said they would not support a procedural tactic to block or delay a vote even though they oppose Hagel’s confirmation.

Hagel broke from his party by opposing former President George W. Bush’s handling of the Iraq War, angering his former colleagues. Some Republicans also have raised questions about whether Hagel, 66, is sufficiently supportive of Israel, tough enough on Iran or capable of leading the Pentagon.

Hagel’s performance during his confirmation hearing before the Armed Services Committee drew harsh criticism. Even some Democrats have said he appeared unprepared and at times hesitant in the face of aggressive questioning.

Harry Reid, the Senate Democratic leader, filed the motion to end debate after Republicans refused to give unanimous consent to allow a vote on Hagel’s confirmation.

“It’s the first time in the history of our country that a presidential nominee for secretary of defense has been filibustered,” Reid said. “What a shame. But, that’s the way it is.”

The Senate Armed Services Committee voted 14-11 along party lines on Tuesday to advance Hagel’s nomination to succeed Leon Panetta as the civilian leader at the Pentagon.

During that meeting, some Hagel opponents, including James Inhofe, the top Republican on the committee, questioned Hagel’s character, accusing him of being “cozy” with Iran or receiving compensation from foreign entities, drawing rebukes from Democrats and even other Republicans.

Others said Hagel had not been forthcoming and demanded more information about his finances and past speeches.

Levin rejected those concerns, saying some panel members were setting standards for Hagel that were far beyond what had been demanded of other nominees.

Hagel’s nomination also got caught up in the continuing fight over the release of information about the September attack on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya. Some Republicans threatened to block Hagel’s confirmation if the administration would not release more information.

Republicans insisted they were not technically resorting to an unprecedented filibuster, saying they were just asking for more time to get more information.

“There’s nothing unusual about this,” Inhofe said on the Senate floor.

“I don’t want to string this out. I have places to go other than hanging around here. I’d vote tonight if we could just get the information that has been requested by the Republican members of the Senate Armed Services Committee,” he said.

The confirmation of another of Obama’s national security nominees, John Brennan, his proposed CIA director, is also facing a potential delay amid jockeying between the White House and members of Congress.

Congressional sources said on Wednesday the Senate Intelligence Committee was likely to delay until the last week of February a vote on Brennan’s confirmation. Democrats and Republicans are using the timing of the vote to pressure the White House to release sensitive papers.


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!
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • 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.