News Column

Senate Ends Hagel Debate

February 26, 2013
Chuck Hagel

The U.S. Senate voted to end the debate blocking a vote on former Sen. Chuck Hagel to be the next defense secretary, opening the way for confirmation Tuesday.

The Senate voted 71-27 to end the first-ever filibuster against a defense secretary nominee. The Hill reported 18 Republicans voted with Democrats to break the filibuster.

A final vote was expected later Tuesday.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, the main opponent to President Obama's nominee, indicated two weeks ago Hagel might have given still-undisclosed speeches to "extreme or radical groups" or received money from foreign sources or defense contractors from 2008 to 2010.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., debunked Cruz's second accusation, saying Hagel complied with the committee's financial disclosure requirements and deserved to be confirmed as successor to Leon Panetta.

Last week 15 GOP senators asked Obama to pull Hagel's nomination. However, NBC News said, it since has become evident Republicans lacked the votes to further delay Hagel's confirmation by extended debate or filibuster.

Hagel turned against the GOP by campaigning for Democratic Senate candidate Bob Kerrey in Nebraska last year. He also criticized President George W. Bush after the Iraq war became unpopular in 2006.

His appearance before the Armed Services Committee was lackluster, with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., calling it "the most unimpressive performance that I have seen in watching many nominees who came before the committee."

Source: Copyright United Press International 2013

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