hagel

Senate moves to final vote on confirming Hagel for Defense

by Jeremy Herb and Ramsey Cox, The Hill  |  published on February 27, 2013

The Senate voted Tuesday to end debate and move to a final vote on former Sen. Chuck Hagel’s confirmation as Defense secretary.

The 71-27 vote paves the way for a final up-or-down vote on Hagel later Tuesday, and comes after the first-ever filibuster of a Defense Department nominee earlier this month.

Eighteen Republicans voted with Democrats to break th filibuster and end debate, and at least a few of them are expected to support Hagel in a final vote. Sixty votes were needed to end debate.

All but four Republicans blocked Hagel’s nomination two weeks ago. Two Democratic senators, Frank Launtenberg (N.J.) and Mark Udall (Colo.) missed the vote.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) set up a 4:30 p.m. vote for final confirmation. There were no Republican objections.

The successful cloture vote signals the end of what’s been the most contentious nomination of a Defense secretary in more than two decades. Hagel, a Nebraska Republican, is expected to be approved on a near party-line vote, a rarity for a Defense secretary.

Republicans have hammered Hagel for his positions and statements on Iran, Israel and nuclear weapons, arguing their former Senate colleague is the wrong choice to run the Pentagon.

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