Hagel committee vote postponed as Republicans seek more information
February 6th, 2013
07:10 PM ET
5 years ago

Hagel committee vote postponed as Republicans seek more information

(CNN) - Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin postponed a panel vote that had been expected on Thursday on the nomination of former GOP Senator Chuck Hagel to be defense secretary.

The move came after Republicans demanded more financial information from Hagel, including details about compensation for speeches he delivered since leaving Capitol Hill.

Hagel's views on Israel, Iran and other subjects have drawn fire from most Senate Republicans. While Hagel appears currently to have just enough support in the Senate to break a possible filibuster and ultimately be confirmed, any delay could potentially complicate that.

Levin could have called the vote over GOP objections and approved Hagel with just Democratic support, but a committee aide said that the chairman, a Michigan Democrat, wants "to be fair and address concerns," and is not trying to "ram this through."

"The committee's review of the nomination is not yet complete," Levin said in a statement. "I intend to schedule a vote on the nomination as soon as possible."

The postponement was a victory of sorts for Republicans who have pushed Levin to hold off on the vote because they argue Hagel has not adequately responded to a long list of questions related to his speeches and his investments.

"This committee, and the American people, have a right to know if a nominee for secretary of defense has received compensation, directly or indirectly, from foreign sources," 26 Republican senators told Hagel in a letter on Wednesday. "Until the committee receives full and complete answers, it cannot in good faith determine whether you should be confirmed as secretary of defense."

James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, said, "I look for people to slow this train down and let's get everything we need. That's what I want to do."

Hagel's performance at last week's confirmation hearing continues to dog him - even among his supporters.

Hagel's muddled answers on basic issues, like the Obama administration's policy toward Iran, had some in the White House scratching their heads about why he wasn't better prepared for the most obvious inquiries.

"I don't think he took the prep sessions as seriously as he needed to," said one source close to the White House, adding that some there have made no secret of their unhappiness with Hagel's substandard performance.

Hagel went through three mock hearings, but some occurred before the inauguration, which could have been part of the problem, the source said.

In any case, he added, "Hagel made it easier for some to oppose him."

Another source close to the White House said that "short of something huge," President Barack Obama is likely to stick by his nominee.

And so will Democrats unless, as one put it, "we get a clear signal from the White House."

That hasn't happened, but the longer Hagel hangs out there without a confirmation vote, the more difficult the road becomes.

However, Republicans opposing Hagel have problems of their own. They don't have the votes necessary to support a filibuster, if a Republican senator should decide to go that route. GOP senators have hinted at a filibuster, but no one has stepped forward to commit to one.

- CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger contributed to this report

Filed under: Chuck Hagel
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Name lynn

    Hagel look out and watch out for them dogs they out to get you. them white house leaders, them republicans, an bonher.

    February 6, 2013 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  2. Evergreen

    I always thought Mr. Hagel was one of the "Best and Brightest" among Republicans. I think he was not prepared for the attack dog tactics of McCain et al. However if his Party does not think he is qualified maybe the President should go with a Democrate.

    February 6, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  3. A Kickin` Donkey

    You have got to be kidding me.

    The GOP nominates a tax evader, with secretive off shore bank accounts. who refuses to provide the public the TEN YEARS worth of tax returns that the PEOPLE demanded but they want more financial records from a cabinent appointee.

    February 6, 2013 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  4. cbp

    Absolutely no surprise. Congressmen and women continually make money as they benefit from their jobs. How many of them amass a good deal of money while sitting in Congress. Before they get all excited they need to clean their own house first. This is just a stalling technique that the Republicans have used many times to keep from voting on appointees.

    There are those like Senators Graham, McCain, Ayotte, McConnell, and Cruz just do not want to see Hagel confirmed. There are others who are using this appointment to advance their own ideas. Not sure how many times we will see this delaying tactic. The GOP cannot accept Barack Obama as President. No doubt that some if it is racial – they cannot accept a black man even though he is so much smarter, so much more articulate and so much more caring than most of them. Listen very carefully to their remarks and you might question their motives.

    February 6, 2013 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  5. pedro bundol

    Which should be right. Hagel was unmasked on the first day as incompetent and unqualified to be SOD. There are so many qualified people among Democrats. Even Barney Frank could replace him.

    February 6, 2013 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  6. VEW2012

    The committee is 14 Democrats to 12 Republicans. This is ridiculus just vote and send it to the full Senate.

    February 6, 2013 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  7. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I don't understand the reason to delay it. There needs to be a better reason to delay other than they don't like his views. Did anyone ask what he would do with the sequesters? How about asking him about policy decisions like repealing DADT?

    February 6, 2013 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  8. Nothing At All

    Just confirm him and let the military cutting begin.

    February 6, 2013 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  9. Jacob Ransome

    In the old days, if 2/3rd of the team on your side of the aisle didn't support you, people had the humility to just not proceed. How things have changed. Maybe this is Hagel's way of burnishing an otherwise week record....

    February 6, 2013 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  10. Hillcrester

    The longer this drags on,the worse the GOP looks. Take the rest of the year, guys! Please!

    February 6, 2013 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  11. NameBlueAlliance

    Why do the democrats always cave and allow the GOP to control Obama's choices?
    Can't they see that they are being 'played' and manipulated by the GOP and we the people lose here as it affects progress. That's exactly what their plan is and the dems are letting it happen again! Didn't they learn anything from the last four years!! Stand up democrats......stop trying to always be the nice guys!!! The GOP wouldn't think twice about forcing their agenda on you. Please show us your backbone.....please!

    February 6, 2013 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  12. ug

    Just ways to make it last longer...he will still be confirmed...

    February 7, 2013 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  13. Anonymous

    Delays for reasonable concerns are certainly justified. We will see if the members of the committee deal with their concerns in a prompt matter, or if they keep bringing up other, extraneous issues. Hagel did not do that good a job in answering the committee questions at the hearing. However, McCain and Graham came with axes to grind and whatever Hagel had said would not have satisfied them. Graham in particular often would not let Hagel finish a sentence. McCain often was demanding binary yes/no answers to loaded questions, and the world is not structured that way.

    February 7, 2013 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  14. Vicki

    Republicans are outdoing themselves against someone who is a republican just like they are. He is a good person who was never a war monger and why won't they vote on his nomination. It is stupid the way republicans are behaving but that is nothing new. The GOP are now more insane than ever.

    February 7, 2013 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  15. Keller

    Gotta love republicans. You can hide your finances and run for president, but you cant be sec def.

    February 7, 2013 03:28 am at 3:28 am |
  16. Name Kevin

    This is just another tactic by the GOP to stop the president plain and simple

    February 7, 2013 03:52 am at 3:52 am |
  17. J.V.Hodgson

    So now freedom of speech to earn a living is an issue. Unless Such funds come from so called " enemies of the US"
    unlikely, unless they espouse US or closely related policy. This is another nonsense.
    Why was this not raised in or before the Senate hearings.
    I get sick and tired of political games that do nothing other than make our system of governance look to be a complete and utter failure!!

    February 7, 2013 04:14 am at 4:14 am |
  18. Marie MD

    These rethugs just can't help themselves. Hillary, Hagel, Susan Rice among others.
    Not to worry though the Cuban anchor baby is trying to get votes for liking music he has probably never heard.
    Has anyone been putting together some committee against mcnasty? If anyone deserves to be probed it's this old senile man.

    February 7, 2013 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  19. gary berti

    An interesting point is made by the Republican senators:

    'This committee, and the American people, have a right to know if a nominee for secretary of defense has received compensation, directly or indirectly, from foreign sources,'

    Isn't it duplicitous to avoid this same right to know if our elected officials are receiving campaign funds, either directly or indirectly, from foreign (or domestic) sources? The political circus never ceases to amaze.

    February 7, 2013 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  20. Bob

    McNasty and his 2 goons, Graham & Ayotte, can continue their BOGUS SEARCH until the cows come home ; it just proves how pathetic the GOP continues to be.

    February 7, 2013 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  21. ricki rawlings

    Excellent & clear reporting! My view is they have FEAR-based thinking of having a VET for the 1st time hold that position!! Great show of faith by Obama, but the whole ordeal is simply rhetoric! Hagel has my vote!

    February 7, 2013 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  22. rhillma1

    I just love how the Israeli influence is apparent in Hegel’s nomination… that exact influence which he warns us of. On a similar same note, why do people insist that Israel is the USA’s greatest ally in the region? What war have they fought with us side by side? Turkey, Qatar, UAE, and others have long allowed US military bases on their soil and have assisted in our pursuits. Is Israel really the greatest ally we have or are that they greatest liability?

    February 7, 2013 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  23. MrBeenThere

    How many more ways can the GOP find ways to drag things out.............. Wait......... check his finger nails, they might be dirty can't have a defense secretary with un-manicured nails.

    February 7, 2013 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  24. Marry

    Republicans seek more information – that’s funny! What are they going to do with it? Fight and spew some more nonsense?

    February 7, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  25. Bruce Eder

    The Senate Republicans are pathetic losers, still flummoxed by coming out of 2012 weaker than they went in (McCain is now wondering what happened to his chairmanship as well as his presidency and his credibility), and they're all looking for anything they can do to prove they're still relevant to the debate - but they don't have the courage to use what little power they have left in the Senate, especially on a defense nomination, for fear of making them look both petty (which they do) and dangerous (which they would). Mr. Levin, on the other hand, may just have reached the practical limit of his term of service - he's starting to dodder, and it may be time for him to step aside in favor of a younger, sharper, more aggressive mind.

    February 7, 2013 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
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