Senate panel to hold vote on Hagel nomination

The Senate Armed Services Committee announce vote on Chuck Hagel appointment; on approval, he will face full Senate.

Chuck Hagel testifies 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing )
Chuck Hagel testifies 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing )
WASHINGTON – The nomination of Chuck Hagel as the next US secretary of defense is slated to be put up for a vote on Tuesday.
The Senate Armed Services Committee announced Monday that the vote would take place in the afternoon on the following day, and committee chairman Sen. Carl Levin said that members would have the opportunity to make comments before casting their votes.
Should he be approved by the committee, Hagel would then have to face the full Senate.
The scheduling of the vote on Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, had been upheld amid Republican demands for further information concerning the nominee and other defense-related issues.
Several Republicans have indicated their intention to vote against Hagel, but Democrats hold the majority and are expected to close ranks and vote for US Barack Obama’s pick. However, a single senator could hold up the process and even force a vote to end a filibuster – which would require 60 votes, which would mean some Republicans would have to break party lines to vote for Hagel.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham has threatened a hold on the nomination as part of a demand for further information about last year’s terrorist attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, in which four American personnel, including the ambassador, were killed.
The committee’s ranking member, Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, has also raised the possibility of a filibuster.
He spelled out his objections on Fox News Sunday, referring to Hagel’s controversial stances on issues pertaining to Iran and Israel.
“This is the type of thing you can’t accept,” he said.
“I’m going to do my best to see he’s not the secretary of defense.”
By setting a date in the near future, however, Democrats hope Graham, Inhofe and other Hagel opponents will be pressured into backing down.
Reuters contributed to this report.