Washington (CNN) - CNN has learned there are now at least five Republican senators who would oppose a filibuster of former Sen. Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense, all but ensuring the embattled nominee will be confirmed in the coming days.
According to a CNN survey of senators, the five are Thad Cochran of Mississippi and Mike Johanns of Nebraska -who both support Hagel taking over the top post at the Pentagon – and John McCain of Arizona, Richard Burr of North Carolina, and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma – who all oppose Hagel's nomination but also disagree with blocking it by filibuster.
At least four other Republican senators – Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Dean Heller of Nevada and Roy Blunt of Missouri - have said they are not inclined to back a filibuster but haven't made a final decision.
While no Republican senator has said definitively he or she will filibuster Hagel, several have suggested they might, including the two senators from Texas, Ted Cruz and John Cornyn who is the second-ranking Senate Republican.
If a filibuster were launched, it would take 60 votes to cut it off. There are 53 Democrats in the Senate plus two independents who regularly vote with them. So the additional five Republicans would provide the votes needed to break a filibuster.
Democratic aides tell CNN they expect no defections from their side.
While there is considerable Republican opposition to Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, many senators believe strongly a president has the right to pick his Cabinet members and get an up or down vote on their qualifications. In the country's history, a Cabinet nominee never has faced a formal filibuster, according to the office of the Senate historian.
A confirmation vote could come as early as Thursday in the Senate Armed Services committee, which held a hearing on the nomination last week.
A floor vote has not been scheduled yet, according to a Democratic leadership aide.
And Hagel will be serving as Defense secretary when the April showers bring May flowers. All this noise over absolutely nothing at all. Sometimes I think these politicians just talk just for the sake of talking.
Boy, isn't it good to see your taxpayer $$$$ at work! :)
He will most likely get 75+ votes.
Let's get on with this thing. Stop all the foolish yakking about Israel.
Hopefully his first act will be to throw a million Federal employees out of work.
He is smart and fair and he fought for our nation. He will make a wonderful secretary of state!! The president and the USA decide what is the best for our nation instead of Israel. We all really hope he gets the nomination.
Next time there is election in Israel lets decide for them a great PM who believes in the rights of the Palestinian to have their own state and who wont be stealing their land or killing them for their land. ISRAEL STAY AWAY FROM OUR POLITICS! Israelis or ZIONIST, rhymes with NAZIS, move to Israel.
Disgusting. Hagel is incompetent and shows public hatred for Israel and other allies.
I think he will be approved too. The GOP is just, as usual, trying to annoy President Obama. I guess a few of them will have to be voted out before the GOP fools get it. Forget about poking the president in the eye. He has already been reelected and you can't screw up his legacy now. America is on to you. Get to work. Oh, John McCain, why don't you get over yourself and do your work?
He is a neocon that realized that the neocon ideal is a failure. He is the perfect person for any job, he can admit when he made a mistake and learn from it. The problem is when his fellow Republicans will not admit there have ever been any GOP mistakes.
Lindsay Graham is going to throw a hissy fit. I love it.
The professional gas bags are at it again. The election is over, they have no new ideas so all they can do is revert to making fruitless noise while the country spirals down the toilet.
Cornyn is terrified of a primary challenge from the Tea Party that he will do anything to protect his right regardless of the damage he might cause.
Oh no!!! You mean all the legalized bribery used by corporations that get massive welfare via the Pentagon didn't pay off?
Had John McCain won he probably would have named Chuck Hagel as Sec. Defense....like he said he would. Sour grapes! That ridiculous petty old man needs to retire.
OK folks – you Democrats. If you watched the confirmation hearings you saw the ineptness of Chuck Hagel. Now I am wondering, since you people are so freaking smart, why you'd back a party that would let a person like Hagel to be Secreatry of Defense? Is it because he's a Democrat? If so, there goes your arguement that you are inately more intelligent.
His views are based off his experience and honestly no matter who is selected for that poistion, somehow some kind of dirt will be found. How many of us have said things we wish we could take back? One thing about life, is when you get older you tend to look back at past mistakes in a different way. It's called learning people and we are all guilty of that.
Why do we even have confirmation hearings? Who was the last person to be denied? The last one I remember was Bush's Supreme Court nominee about 8 years ago.
There is no such thing as a dumb democrat, only dumb voters who vote dumb democrat!
This was a foregone conclusion from the get-go. McCain, McConnell, Lugar, Alexander and others can be quoted as publicly gushing over Hagel's foreign relations and national security credentials, intelligence and decision-making, but they turned this into a backstabbing circus for one reason and one reason only: so they could claim that Obama's appointment of Hagel wasn't "bipartisan." Well, no, it wasn't...but it's not because the decision to nominate him wasn't bipartisan. it's because the GOP/Teatrolls in Congress turned the confirmation process into a partisan circus.
This is a terrible choice for Secreatary of Defense. Hagel not support any resolutemilitary action against the North Korean or Iranian nuclear weapons program, Hagel will will help Obama reduce our own nuclear weapons inventory to zero as quickly as possible. Also, Obama will not lift a finger to help the Syrian people and over a 120,000 will be dead in Syria by this time next year. Obama's second term will be full of appeasement in the world which will result in a vey bad outcome for the United States.
There is a big difference in saying something wrong and starting a war whch took 1,000+ plus lives and no one can still answer the question as to why we were at war still. As a former Vet myself, i wish him luck and just hope he listens to the people that will serve under him for needed information and guidence. He served our nation to the highest capacity with the war he served in.
I am reminded now of the noise the aliens make in Mars Attacks.
Congratulations, Mr. Secretary!
This whoe episode was just more empty partisan nonsense from the extremist party.
I can think of no one better to serve in the role than a person who has lived the horrors of war and came to the rationale conclusion that neoconism will do nothing but lose us friends and lead to non-stop war around the globe. Get 'er done!
With doofus Kerry at State, Donilon as NWA, Putz Brennan at CIA, and the water-carrying chairman Gen Dempseyof the JCS, it is truly amateur hour.
And here come the entirely expected defenders of all things Obama, to the rescue of a man they have probably never even heard of.
Look in the mirror, sheep. Ask yourself, "why am I so quick to jump at the throats of people voicing opinions against a man I don't even know, as if I am the authority on the matter?" Please do.
Hagel is as radical a politician as I've ever seen nominated for such a high post. His record speaks for itself, and it is not a pretty record. You don't have to make this stuff up. Just simply look at his record, his quotes, and his votes.
Yet still you blindly defend him, simply because Obama picked him. Think about that.