Chuck Hagel’s nomination has cleared a deeply divided Senate Committee, paving the way for his nomination to be heard on the Senate floor.
The committee voted 14-11 to approve Hagel after two hours of debate leading up to the vote. The contentious debate by the Senate Armed Services Committee reflects Hagel’s lack of popularity among his Republican Senate colleagues.
Republicans repeatedly attacked Hagel’s voting record as well as his qualifications for the job as Secretary of Defense, reports ABC News.
Now that his nomination has passed the committee, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced he plans to move the former Senator’s nomination to the floor by the end of the week.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) acknowledged some Republicans’ lackluster feelings for Chuck Hagel, though he is not sure if their feelings will come into play during the upcoming full Senate debate.
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) is one who opposes Hagel’s nomination. McCain described Hagel’s lackluster performance during his confirmation hearing as “the worst that I have seen of any nominee for office.”
Time notes that Democrats have the number of votes needed to confirm Hagel on a majority vote, but they must gain the support of five Republicans for an up-or-down vote on the president’s Cabinet nominee for defense secretary to go through.
Hagel will likely continue to face fierce opposition from Republicans. Several of them have challenged his past statements and votes on Israel, Iran, Iraq, and nuclear weapons. The panel’s chairman, Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), defended Hagel, saying that the GOP’s demands have been far above what is normally asked of previous nominees.
[Image by English: Glenn Fawcett [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]