Republicans Block Confirmation Vote for Hagel from Advancing
Senate Republicans succeeded in postponing a final up-or-down vote on former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel (R) to become the next defense secretary when they defeated Democrats’ effort Thursday to end debate on his nomination.
Four Republicans joined the Democrats to support Hagel’s nomination, but the majority party still was unable to reach the 60-vote threshold needed to approve cloture and end the apparent filibuster.
Defeat of the procedural vote — which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) moved up from Friday — is only expected to delay Hagel’s expected confirmation until after the chamber returns from recess Feb. 25. Many Republicans who voted to deny cloture said they would allow the nomination to proceed to an up-or-down vote when they return, reported the Hill. And with 55 senators caucusing with the Democrats, Hagel almost certainly will be confirmed if what Democrats are describing as a filibuster is overcome following the break.
The chief concern of Republicans opposed to Hagel was that Democrats were rushing the final vote on his nomination when they wanted more information about speeches he gave and his compensation for them.
Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), who is opposed to Hagel’s nomination but for the most part wanted to avoid a filibuster, echoed the thinking of many of his fellow Republicans.
“I think it’s appropriate to wait until we come back,” McCain said, reported the Hill. “I think there’s plenty of time to have any further questions answered and I intend to vote for cloture then.”