February 5th, 2013
05:20 PM ET
1 year ago

Hagel approval all but certain

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.


Filed under: Chuck Hagel • Senate
soundoff (95 Responses)
  1. Ben Joseph

    Funny how all those wanting Republicans to give in to BHO and to stop annoying him, are the same ones that were extremely critical of President Bush and supported the democrat's poking of a Republican president

    February 5, 2013 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  2. fred37ify

    Great ! We got Howdy Doody in the White House and Alfred E Newman for Sec. of State ! Now we're getting Charlie Brown for Sec. of Defense ! Any more morons need a job ???

    February 5, 2013 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  3. Ben Joseph

    Funny how all those wanting Republicans to give in to B H O and to stop annoying him, are the same ones that were extremely critical of President Bush and supported the democrat's poking of a Republican president

    February 5, 2013 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  4. Chooch0253

    @James Trainor. Wrong position. Hagel is being nominated for Secretary of Defense. Kerry was already nominated and confirmed as Secretary of State. As to your antisemitism, just as much nonsense as the first part of your posting.

    February 5, 2013 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  5. Bill

    @Big Bord Johnson-

    Perhaps you could enlighten us and let us know how you served your country. Get a grip and get a life.

    February 5, 2013 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  6. bob

    Once again obama gets his racist pick slid through the senate. Kind of like that pedophile Menendez

    February 5, 2013 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  7. bob

    Corporal hagel gets approved, he reminds me of Sgt. Schultz of Hogans Heros

    February 5, 2013 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  8. Core republican Values

    As a republican who wants our government to spend less, I am totally against Mr. Hagel's nomination because he will cut Defense spending. Eh, Oops. Wait a minute. That came out wrong.

    I mean, as a republican who takes lots of cash from defense industry corporations, I am against Mr. Hagel's nomination because of reasons outlined here in this memo just handed to me by the defense industry lobbyists at lunch.

    February 5, 2013 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  9. Khagaraj Sommu

    Obama has announced today that he would visit Israel this spring.This could be aimed at easing the way of Hagel in the confirmation process,apart from other considerations.

    February 5, 2013 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  10. Fernando

    Disgusting. Hagel is incompetent and shows public hatred for Israel and other allies.
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    @Big Bird Johnson: Easy for you to say as you are probably one of those people who doesn't have a mean or angry bone in your body. Could you share some coping strategies for Hagel and those of us who occasionally find ourselves impatient or even ill-tempered when dealing with some of the more aggressive, pushy Zionists?

    February 5, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  11. ted

    The Republicans are the new friendly party...

    February 5, 2013 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  12. Iamnotfooled

    As usual a whole lot of nonsense for nothing. What a waste of taxpayers time and money these Republicans are. Then they blame the deficit on President Obama. If they would stop wasting time and actually do something constructive then this country will be ok.

    February 5, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  13. mtbeau

    He has always been a supporter for benefits for the Vet. That is enough for me to support this man.

    February 5, 2013 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  14. oneWayfarer

    GOP like John McCain desperately cling to the idea the the SURGE meant that Iraq was Not a Total Fork-Up. Hagel called Iraq the biggest Military BLUNDER since Vietnam. Killing THOUSANDS of Americans and Hundreds of Thousands of Iraqis and RECRUITING Tens of Thousands of al Qaeda at the cost of a TRILLION Dollars which McCain said he would be FINE with continuing for a HUNDRED YEARS.

    February 5, 2013 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  15. n2video

    And all the right wing Obama haters gave me "thumbs down" when I predicted over two weeks ago that Hagel will be confirmed. HA HA HA!

    February 5, 2013 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  16. bluegrassbetty

    Does the GOP somehow think they look better to the public by making this huge fuss about Hagel? The look like sore losers trying to hurt they guy who beat them. Didn't work last time and won't work now.

    February 5, 2013 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  17. john from long island

    This is a made up frenzy- Hagel served in the military, fought for his country in Vietnam and then came home and served two terms as a US Senator- maybe he's not a Cheney Neo-Con Republican, but he certainly qualifies as a center-right member of the GOP with an idependent streak. President Obama once again shows bipartisanship by including a member of the opposition party (just because he's not a extreme radical like Rand Paul doesn't make him any less Republican) and the American people get someone who actually knows something about the Defense department. This is a good appointment. Anyone who says otherwise would be critical of ANY nominee – Even if Patton came back from the dead and was appointed to serve, there would be fringe tea party elements who'd be calling him a sell out liberal in sheeps clothing. The party of Reagan has fallen a long, long way.

    February 5, 2013 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  18. classybusiness

    Hagel-haters are the same band of "Let's never give Obama anything he asks for" spoilers who have been dragging this country down at every turn.

    February 5, 2013 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  19. redpillfactory.com

    Hagel is a Freemason (which is based on jewish kabbalah). This whole jew media charade is meant to train all the lemmings in the US not to say anything about the jews that have an absolute stranglehold on this country.

    February 5, 2013 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  20. redpillfactory.com

    This whole media charade with freemason hagel is meant to train all the lemmings in the US not to open their mouths about the hebrews that have a stranglehold on this country.

    February 5, 2013 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  21. Natch

    empresstrudy, it's pretty likely that he doesn't HAVE a million Federal employees working for him, in the Department of Defense. But you never bother letting little things like FACTS get in the way of your foolishness, do you?

    A better idea would be to revisit all the contracting that has gone on in recent years, all in the name of "efficiency". Problem is, half the time, the contractors don't give near the level of service of the federal employees they replaced. Add to that the fact that government contracting officers are generally either ignorant of what they're contracting, or simply incompetent, and the contractors know it.......and they happily underbid the contracts, knowing full well that when the government realizes they're not getting what they thought they were going to get, they will renegotiate the contract. And that's when the contractors make their killing, since they know they're not going to be replaced.

    But hey......someone was able to show some pretend "efficiency", and get another jump in rank, so who cares??

    February 5, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  22. redpillfactory

    This whole media charade with hagel is meant to train all the lemmings in the US not to open their mouths about the hebrews that have a stranglehold on this country.

    February 5, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  23. Lee Downie

    Go for it, Chuck!

    February 5, 2013 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    Doesn't make a difference.

    February 5, 2013 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  25. 3n4g

    Hagel is openly racist against Jews and supports Arab Nazi occupation of Israel. We know that what happened when people supported Nazis during WWII: 40 million people were killed.

    February 5, 2013 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
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