GOP Blocks Nomination of Hagel, for Now

He's still expected to become defense secretary, but after Senate recess

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 14, 2013 4:18 PM CST

(Newser) – The Chuck Hagel drama continued on Capitol Hill today, as Republicans refused to allow a final vote on his confirmation to become defense secretary, reports the Hill. Hagel is expected to prevail eventually—but now it can't happen until lawmakers return from the Presidents' Day recess. Expect the next vote on Feb. 26, reports Politico. One of the sticking points is that Republicans want more information about Hagel's compensation for speeches he gave after leaving the Senate in 2008.

“I think it’s appropriate to wait until we come back,” said John McCain. “I think there’s plenty of time to have any further questions answered and I intend to vote for cloture then.” Harry Reid needed 60 votes to force an up-or-down vote today, but he came up with only 58. The White House, noting earlier that Hagel would miss a NATO meeting in Brussels next week, called the GOP tactics "unconscionable." The move marks the first time a nominee for defense secretary has faced a filibuster, reports the Washington Post.

Republican Chuck Hagel testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee in this file photo.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
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