Hagel Nomination Clears SASC
The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) cleared the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be the next Secretary of Defense today by a party-line vote of 14-11.
The next step is for the nomination to be taken up by the full Senate. A vote is planned for Thursday. Ordinarily, a simple majority is all that is needed and since there are 53 Democrats and two Independents who usually vote with the Democrats, passage would not be a problem. However, SASC Ranking Member Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) is demanding that the nomination get 60 votes to pass or he will mount a filibuster against it. Time will tell what tactics the Senate Republicans will use to delay or defeat the nomination.
Hagel is a Republican and a former Senator. Most of his Republican colleagues oppose him for a variety of reasons including his positions on Israel and Iran. Only two Republican Senators have said they will vote for him (Cochran and Johanns) athough others, like Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), an influential voice on defense matters, oppose the idea of a filibuster on a Cabinet-level nomination.
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