Yesterday, in a rare party line vote, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted 14-11 to advance Hagel’s nomination to the Senate floor for the final verdict.
Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo) indicated this morning that Republicans had enough votes to delay debate on the nomination of Chuck Hagel as Obama’s Secretary of Defense.
Blunt (R-Mo.) said he believed there were 40 votes in the Senate that indicated “it’s too quick to end the debate on this nomination.”
After saying just days ago that Senate Republicans shouldn’t filibuster Hagel’s nod, McCain now says he hasn’t made up his mind about whether he would vote to end debate and allow a floor vote on the former Nebraska senator’s confirmation.
McCain is now waiting to see whether the White House will respond to a letter requesting more information about Obama’s “actions and orders” the night of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
“We are hoping to get an answer to a simple question,” McCain told POLITICO.
At yesterday’s hearing, McCain stated that he did not believe that they should move forward with the nomination until questions that he and Senators Graham and Ayotte had posed, were answered. And he called Hagel’s Senate testimony, Jan. 31, “the most unimpressive performance that I have seen in watching many nominees who came before the committee for their various positions. McCain expressed disdain for the fact that Hagel didn’t even know our policy toward Iran is not one of containment – “he had to be corrected by the Chair of the committee,” said. “The next Sec. of Defense is going to have to deal with a world on fire, and I believe the testimony of Senator Hagel was not reassuring.”
Senator Graham’s statement, at yesterday’s committee hearing is worth a listen, too. After noting that he doesn’t vote against nominee, often, he said his objection to Hagel was about “a series of votes and statements that paint an unusually disturbing picture.” He said, “there’s a the left lane in politics, there’s a left lane, and and a middle lane, and when it comes to some of the Iranian and Israeli issues, there’s the Chuck Hagel Lane. He’s in a league of his own, guys”