What’s Coming Next on Hagel Nomination
Today, the Senate took a needless procedural vote vote on the nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel to be the next United States Secretary of Defense. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid scheduled the vote knowing he did not have the necessary 60 votes to cut off debate. Reid accused the GOP of obstructing Hagel’s nomination.
With 55 Senate Democrats, Reid needed only five Republican votes. The Republicans who voted for the cloture were Sen. Cochran (MS), Sen. Collins (ME), Sen. Johanns (NE), and Sen. Murkowski (AK). Yet, the cloture vote came up one vote short, with 58 yeas, 40 nays, and one present (Reid switched his vote to nay for procedural reasons).
Sen. Reid expressed disappointment calling Hagel a man of courage. He added that he’s “going to call Chuck Hagel and say ‘I’m sorry.’” Sen. Reid implied that our country would be without a Secretary of Defense for several days – potentially ten. But the current Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, has indicated that he would stay on until a new secretary of defense was nominated.
Hagel does not need an apology. He is simply not qualified to lead America’s armed forces. On the contrary, the Senate and the President will be doing a disservice to the American people should Hagel becoming our next Defense Secretary. Hagel’s positions on Iran, the Middle East, and nuclear weapons are highly questionable and, frankly, unsatisfactory, which is why we oppose his nomination.
When the Senate returns from their recess, they will re-file a motion to proceed, and it is still possible that he will be confirmed. Senators should use that time to thoroughly evaluate Hagel and his qualifications. We are certainly not yet out of the woods.