Senate Panel Backs Hagel Nomination on Party-Line Vote
The Senate Armed Services Committee voted Tuesday to approve the nomination of Chuck Hagel to head the Defense Department on a 14-11 vote.
All of the 14 votes for Hagel came from Democrats; all opposed to the nominee were Republicans.
Republicans have indicated they may try to block Hagel's nomination on the Senate floor in a vote slated for later this week. They could throw up procedural hurdles, such as requiring cloture votes, which would mean that Hagel would have to clear a 60-vote threshold to be confirmed.
GOP members on the Armed Services panel were highly critical of Hagel before the vote. "His performance before this committee was the worst that I have seen for any nominee for office," said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., according to Fox News.Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., rejected Republican senators' arguments that Hagel had failed to answer questions about whether or not he had given paid speeches to radical groups without disclosing them. "We’re not going to accept your suggestion and innuendo that there is some kind of conflict of interest here,” Levin said, according to a Washington Post report.