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. (Read more John McCain stories.)