Hagel Nomination Clears Filibuster Senate will vote to confirm in a matter of hours By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff Posted Feb 26, 2013 11:56 AM CST 6 comments Comments In this Jan. 31, 2013, file photo, Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, file) (Newser) – The Senate has voted 71-27 to end debate on Chuck Hagel's nomination for secretary of Defense, paving the way for his all-but-guaranteed confirmation later this afternoon. Republicans had been filibustering Hagel's nomination, with the last vote to end debate on Feb. 14 falling just short of the 60-vote threshold needed, at 58-40. This time 11 senators changed their vote—including, notably, John McCain, Roll Call reports. (Hagel and McCain have had something of a rocky relationship, though McCain has always seemed resigned to confirming him.) The Senate will hold its final vote on Hagel around 4:30pm, and when that happens he'll need only a simple majority to be installed atop the Pentagon.