Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., a close ally of pro-Israel groups, announced he would support Chuck Hagel's nomination as defense secretary.
Schumer's decision is a major boost for Hagel's chances of confirmation, CBS News said Tuesday, noting Hagel, a former senator, has come under criticism for a past reference to a "Jewish lobby" in Washington and his suggestion he would not support a military strike by Israel to prevent Iran's development of nuclear weapons.
"Based on several key assurances provided by Senator Hagel, I am currently prepared to vote for his confirmation. I encourage my Senate colleagues who have shared my previous concerns to also support him," Schumer, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, said Tuesday.
A Senate aide said Schumer and Hagel met at the White House for 90 minutes Monday, and Schumer telephoned Hagel Tuesday morning to inform him of his decision.
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