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Chuck Hagel confirmed for Secretary of Defense in 58-41 Senate vote


A divided Senate on Tuesday finally confirmed Chuck Hagel as secretary of Defense, handing President Barack Obama a victory on one of his key Cabinet appointments after weeks of partisan rancor.

The former Republican senator from Nebraska, who is expected to be sworn in on Wednesday, will take the reins at the Pentagon as some 66,000 Americans serve in the ongoing war in Afghanistan and just days before automatic, across-the-board spending cuts are set to kick in on Friday.

His confirmation, which passed 58-41, required only a simple majority after the Senate voted 71-27 earlier in the day to end debate. He needed at least 60 votes to clear the earlier procedural hurdle, and 18 Republicans joined 53 Democrats in the vote to end debate.

As the vote approached after Republicans blocked the first nearly two weeks ago, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid bemoaned all the delays, arguing Republicans had accomplished nothing.

“Twelve days ago the Republicans mounted a first of its kind filibuster on Sen. Hagel’s nomination. ... What has the filibuster gained my Republican colleagues? Twelve days later, nothing,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “Politically motivated delays send a terrible signal to our allies around the world, and they send a terrible signal to tens of thousands of Americans serving in Afghanistan, other parts of the world and … in the United States.”

Still, even as they approached the vote they knew they’d lose, key Republicans stuck by their opposition. Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he’d asked Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to stay on — or that he’d prefer former undersecretary of Defense for policy Michèle Flournoy or Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter — to Hagel.

And Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana and Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas both said the lingering controversy over Hagel was evidence in its own right that he should not take over the Pentagon.

“Sen. Hagel is clearly the wrong man for the job,” Cornyn said. “This isn’t about personality. This isn’t about politics. … He is the wrong man for the job.”

by Anonymousreply 902/27/2013


by Anonymousreply 102/26/2013

Odd that a Republican nominee was voted against by the majority of Republicans.

by Anonymousreply 202/26/2013

A dark day for the nation. It proves that getting rid of the entrenched corruption in the Pentagon will be no easy thing.

by Anonymousreply 302/26/2013

Good. I once respected McCain even though I rarely agreed with him. Those days have long passed. He went along with blocking Hagel so long that he missed the NATO meeting.

by Anonymousreply 402/26/2013

No kidding, R3.

by Anonymousreply 502/26/2013

[quote]And Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana and Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas both said the lingering controversy over Hagel was evidence in its own right that he should not take over the Pentagon.

A controversy of the Rethuglican's making, of course. Neat little trick: create false problems for a nominee ("Friends of Hamas" anyone?), then declare that set of false problems is reason enough to stop the nominee from taking office.

Oh, but holding up nominees -- even if the cause is quite legitimate -- only applies when there is a Democrat in the White House -- as if that needed to be said.

by Anonymousreply 602/27/2013

As long as Republicans keep fighting each other, it can only get better for everyone else.

by Anonymousreply 702/27/2013

R6, Hagel probably was a mass killer of civilians in Vietnam, he is the poster boy for the Pentagon insider who gets a private sector job he's not qualified for which makes him rich, and he moved from there to mastermind America's largest VOTING MACHINE company, ground zero for the fascization of the USA, leading him into the Senate where his record was far more conservative than the president and his brain dead "advisors" would have you believe. We probably had no choice on this because the CIA and Pentagon have probably tried to convince Obama they stole the election for him (or at least didn't steal it for the other side when they could have) but Chuck Hagel in the cabinet is no victory for the American people, opposition to Iraq and the Bushes notwithstanding.

by Anonymousreply 802/27/2013

The "no" votes are like a who's-who list of idiots that shouldn't have ever had any power, and who need to be voted out of office at the next available opportunity.

by Anonymousreply 902/27/2013
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