US Senate Democratic leader says Republicans blocking Hagel

By REUTERS
February 14, 2013 17:33

 
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WASHINGTON, Feb 14 (Reuters) - U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made an impassioned appeal on Thursday for confirmation of Chuck Hagel as President Barack Obama's new secretary of defense, as Republicans said he might not get the 60 votes needed to overcome roadblocks preventing a vote on his confirmation.

A senior Republican aide said it was not clear if enough Republicans would cross the aisle to help provide the 60 votes. Democrats, who have remained united in support of Hagel, a former Republican senator, control 55 seats in the 100-member Senate.

The aide said a number of members want more information about Hagel, their former colleague. But the aide said that eventually, barring an unexpected surprise, the feeling is that he will be confirmed.

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