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.
The problem with Mr. Hagel is that he is a HORRIBLE people manager. This position requires good people skills. It is more than evident from the hearings that he is not a good communicator. So why is he good person for the job?
Nice to know that five GOP elected persons actually understand their jobs, and three others might. This Party is hanging on by its finger nails. It doesn't require Sherlock Holmes to comprehend why.
I love to listen to well informed people like James Trainor,who obviously is so well informed that he thinks Hagel is up for Secretary of State. Hey wake up, that guy is Kerry,we are talking about Secretary of Defense.
I think that Hagel had a good speech and that the best representitive when in the election of 2013.
Big Bird Johnson
Disgusting. Hagel is incompetent and shows public hatred for Israel and other allies.
I see you have YOUR priorities set.....too bad they won't see the light of day and he'll be confirmed, AIPAC or not
Our Republican Party nows pretends they get their paycheck from Israel – a good ally with no oil and an appetite for other people's land. Is the Jewish vote more critical or the one from the radical Evangelicals raving about the "end of days"? 666 is just a number...
There's first time everything, the Republicans seem to listen to the bubblehead talk show host, insteadof the job they were voted to do!
Yea!! Chuck Hagel is a good man and will be an excellent Sec Def. He knows what combat is, as an Enlisted Infrantryman in the jungles of Vietnam nonetheless. He volunteered to go when all of the Iraq War neo-cons had "other priorities".
Chuck whats the matter losing count of the white house leaders.
Hagel is a pre-verbal, pro-Iran kook who couldn't even put a sentence together at his confirmation hearing. At least as Secretary of Defense he has no control over policy. But what a terrible, terrrible choice. He may be confirmed, but it's going to be rocky for him going forward given how unpopular he is.
This guy is an embarrassment. He was extremely ill prepared for his "interview". If any of us performed like him we would never have been given a 2nd guess.
Let's call Natanyahu and asks what he thinks of Hagel. He should have veto right over US administration nominations.
Hey Big Bird-
Move to Israel if that's your only concern about our national interest. I'm sick of you neocons being more concerned with a foreign country than the USA. A bunch of hypocrites. You've actually succeeded in turning public sentiment against Israel.
Too bad the GOP didn't bother asking many important questions about how Mr Hagel would approach the sequester defunding, drone use, or Afghanistan withdrawal.
Mr McCain trying to cover up his consistent errors in judgement in Iraq policies by twisting Mr Hagel's past words was perhaps the most embarrassing moment for the GOP, but was hardly the worst,
The Nation's piece on "Ten Ridiculous Questions From Chuck Hagel's Confirmation Hearing" points up how childish the hearing was in what should have been and important conversation.
hatred for israel and the rest of the tribe is a natural survival instinct, they wreck nations, always have.
HAGEL, YOU'RE DA MAN!!!!!
HAGEL, will be the best Secretary of Defense. A decorated war veteran, a man with integrity, a man that has serve his country.
Can't we stop paying these people we voted in to represent us as in WE THE PEOPLE now, instead of if they don't Pass that budget bill by April or whenever? They all seem to be useless on the Hill. If they were in the real world of working people they would have been fired, not laid off so they could collect unemployment. We as a country really need to overhaul their pay scale to reflect their job, no work no pay and we need to closely look at their retirement.
The poor preparation he exhibited during the question and answer phase doesn't speak well for his future job performance. But after the charade of Holder, nothing is a surprise.
Hates gays and hates Jews. Both wings are happy!
Naturally it has the be the 2 Texas Senators who are being jerks. Why did we elect these 2 duds?
Now what is McCain going to do? He had his ax to grind with Chuck for not endorsing him in 2000...made an ass out of himself at the hearings and clearly showed that he is just a crotchety old man who is slipping closer by the second to irrelevance!
Well this will be fun to watch. What's next after this? War on Israel but care packages to Iran for being starved? Hope he proves people wrong about his past and future.
empresstrudy, by a million federal employees you mean the military? That's pretty much the only agency Hagel will be in charge of that has more than a million employees.
Hagel will be approved. Those who think he's anti-Semitic can go pound sand. Taking a hard, realistic look at what Israel does is not antisemitism; it's called critical thinking.
Filibuster no. But Hagel is a terrible choice. But then who would want to be permanently tarnished by one of worst administrations in history?