U.S. President Barack Obama's pick to serve as
secretary of Defense hit a major roadblock Thursday as Democrats in
the upper Senate failed in a move to force the chamber to vote on his
The Senate fell two votes short of the 60 votes needed to end debate and move on to confirming Chuck Hagel's nomination.
In the 58-40 vote, minority Republicans continued to express opposition and scuttled efforts to put the nomination to a quick vote. Just four Republicans joined with Democrats in voting to move forward.
Several prominent Republicans indicated they would be willing to allow a vote on Hagel, but only after allowing more time for debate. The Senate will take up the nomination again Feb. 26 after a recess scheduled for next week.
Hagel earned two Purple Hearts for service in the Vietnam War, and is a former Republican senator from Nebraska.
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