Outcome of Hagel filibuster vote uncertain
February 13th, 2013
08:10 PM ET
1 year ago

Outcome of Hagel filibuster vote uncertain

Washington (CNN) - Chuck Hagel’s bid to lead the Pentagon faces an uncertain outcome on a critical vote Friday as Democrats attempt to break a GOP filibuster of the defense secretary nominee.

Despite optimism from administration officials, who believe Hagel will get the five GOP votes he needs to end the filibuster, senior congressional sources in both parties are less positive. They told CNN they now are not sure he will get the votes.

Doubts were raised Wednesday after Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said he was reconsidering his pledge not to filibuster Hagel because the Obama administration was refusing to provide key details about the president’s actions on the night of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

McCain’s vote is important because he is one of the leading Republicans on military matters and other senators are expected to follow his lead. But he was also one of just five GOP senators who publically announced they would not filibuster Hagel. If he supports the filibuster, it could be impossible for Hagel to get 60 votes.

“I’ve always said I just want an answer to the question,” McCain explained. “We deserve answers before we move forward with nominees. That’s been the standard I’ve pursued for the past 26 years.”

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Michigan, said he expects the administration will provide a response to the Benghazi question before Friday’s vote.

Filibusters of cabinet officials are extremely rare, largely because senators typically believe a president has a right to pick the leaders of his government.

“This is the first time in the history of our country that a presidential nominee for secretary of defense has been filibustered,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said. “What a shame.”

The administration isn't budging, and an official insisted to CNN Hagel won't withdraw his nomination.


Filed under: Chuck Hagel • Senate
soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. Marie MD

    Hagel should get the necessary votes. Somebody needs to make sure ms lindsay from SC is "detained" in the girls bathroom until the voting is done.
    Has his southern accent increased or is it my imagination?

    February 14, 2013 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  2. wj james

    the interest group funding the filibuster rules america-period

    February 14, 2013 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  3. Johnny DC

    This guy deserves to be Secretary of Defense about as much as Lindsay Lohan deserves to be Secretary of HHS.

    February 14, 2013 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  4. Dan

    McCain should have to stand before the senate and talk for his filibuster to be relavent, I truly think that in the mid term elections the party of no will be asking why the democrats have control of the house and senate and they are setting at home cleaning their assault rifle and collecting their government welfare check that they call a pension for all the hard work that they did not do.

    February 14, 2013 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  5. zanny

    Well Harry Reed when you had the chance to do something about the Filibuster you whimped out and now it is jumping up and biting you in the behind. I am sick and tired of John McCain and Lindsey Graham and the obstructionist Republicans. They have ruined our country starting with Bush and Cheney then adding the Tea Party crazies, and they just keep on supported, encouraged and cheered on the Fox entertainment network. Once their sequester goes into effect, our economy will rapidly decline. They still only care about defeating Obama and could give a rats behind about the country.

    February 14, 2013 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  6. Tamar

    Why President Obama does not tell publicly that in fact he was kept in dark by Hillary Clinton about what was happening in Benghazi? She knew perfectly what was going on and did not act, so much for the candidate who made 3.00 am call ad. Obama should stop protecting her.

    February 14, 2013 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  7. ladyjag

    Most of the Senators, doing th usual half tailed job, most are not Veterans, Hagel did what he needed to do during Viet Nam, Senators need to get off their sorry butts and confirm him. This is just for show from REPUBLICANS, as usual.

    February 14, 2013 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  8. Chris

    Republicans want to filibuster their own people. This isn't about doing what's best for the country – it's about blind obstructionism.

    February 14, 2013 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  9. JOHN E TEITSORT

    I don't think that any republican should vote for a traitor, or liar. You have in the past and look what it got you.
    There is an election coming next year,remember that and if you desire to stay in your present position take care of business. You also need to send to send pierce morgan back to Great Britian. We don't need any communists in this country, send them all to a communist country (including the president)

    February 14, 2013 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  10. wgf

    So now the GOP is going to prevent a key cabinet post from being filled, regardless of the capabilities of the person filling it. And they will do that until they extort the answers they want from the Obama administration regarding a comparatively minor incident that occurred on a day when there were threats to US assets throughout the Middle East. (I'm sorry but 4 dead diplomats and security personnel in a Middle East country is minor compared to, let's say, your average day in Iraq during the Bush administration.)

    Why do they look at this as a winning strategy ? I think it makes them look weak. Afterall, this is the same group that marketed to us an 8 year war in Iraq under false pretenses, and now they can't handle a mistake that cost 4 people their lives at a high risk diplomatic outpost ? McCain wants to invade every country in the Middle East, but he can't handle this ? As a war veteran he should know that sometimes mistakes are made in highly volatile situations, and those m,istakes end up costing lives. It's time to move on.

    February 14, 2013 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  11. Floyd from Illinois

    Delicious – Republican ODS is now leading them in a frenzied pack to start cannabalizing Republicans.

    They've been in a death spiral for a while, I think their burning wings just fell off.

    Dem Supermajority 2014 – and GOPers will be staring at each other wondering 'Why's THAT happen?'

    February 14, 2013 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  12. jack spitz

    The Senate made a hugh mistake when they did not eliminate the filibuster. Stupid people such as Cruz–I was wrong, I did not think it possible to get a senator dumber than the past Texas senators–but he is. John McCain is nothing but a bitter old man who is a fool, and Rand Paul is a joke. These people are clowns!

    February 14, 2013 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  13. Gurgyl

    This nation needs Fillibuster Reform. There is a reason for me to say–Joe Sestack, PA senator threatened for Public Option provision in Health Care Reform resulted its demise for the law–causing the remenesent passage. This Fillibuster Reform is a need for this society.

    February 14, 2013 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  14. maggie

    shame on McCain and Graham, particularly at a time when the world is in such a precarious place. Let's see who cries first when the Democrats do the same to the next Republican president, if one should ever be elected again in my lifetime.

    February 14, 2013 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  15. LL

    So, the Republican nom by a Democrat was just not acceptable to Republicans.

    Next in line for the job is a flaming liberal, Republicans. Take it or leave it. Geesh......the GOP has sunk to new depths.

    This is about as bad as Mitch McConnell and John Boehner filibustering their own bills recently..

    February 14, 2013 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  16. Rudy NYC

    from the article:

    Doubts were raised Wednesday after Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said he was reconsidering his pledge not to filibuster Hagel because the Obama administration was refusing to provide key details about the president’s actions on the night of the attack..............
    ------------–
    Republicans have the cliff in their sights and the pedal to the metal.
    1. What does Benghazi have to do with Hagel's confirmation?
    2. Republicans put too much emphasis on their pledges?
    3. And how come no one on the right is calling McCain a flip-flopper? The left doesn't care either way.

    Finally, is it wise to broadcast to the world the president's whereabouts and activities on the 9/11 anniversary to all of the terrorists of the world. Yes, I understand that the information can be passed to them behind closed doors. But if I were the White House, I would not trust that Sen. Cruz for Texas to act responsibly.

    February 14, 2013 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  17. asm_ith

    The Republicans are complaining about the effects of the sequester on defense. Yet they are potentially blocking a qualified person from becoming Secretary of Defense because of something unrelated to the Defense Department, the person, his qualifications, or even his policies. It doesn't matter whether or not they have a legitimate complaint about the administration and Benghazi because that is unrelated. They just see it as leverage, so they will screw the nation's security and the Defense Department to get their way.

    February 14, 2013 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  18. The National Farmer of Humans has spoken.

    In summary of the President's speech and stumping tour:
    "I don't have to justify my words, but you do have to follow them."

    More talking points to stir up his livestock, but no realistically thought out paths forward.

    February 14, 2013 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  19. tullymd

    The military industrial complex is very powerful.

    February 14, 2013 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  20. WV Gleeman

    I hope this is not the new normal going forward. Filibuster rules need to be fixed. Confirmations need to be more streamlined. Not just for this administration but for all of them moving forward. This is waste of time for these Senators. They spend all this time on something that doesn't benefit the people. If there is no evidence, clear evidence, to pursue the line of questioning for impeachment then it needs to stop and quit wasting the time and money of the American taxpayers.

    February 14, 2013 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  21. Wake up People!

    It's going to be a long 4 years. They are so determined to make everyone hate President Obama and blame him for all of the crap they are responsible for. They're playing a serious game with all of our lives. And they don't care just as long as they regain power. I hope people aren't that stupid. A bunch of insignificant little men that can't get over their jealousies. Pathetic.

    February 14, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  22. phoenix86

    The bar is set so very low for Obama, I don't see how Hagel cannot get through. No one expects competence from this administration.

    February 14, 2013 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  23. Woops

    A new low for a Republican party that defines low.

    February 14, 2013 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  24. gladiatorgrl

    Doubts were raised Wednesday after Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said he was reconsidering his pledge not to filibuster Hagel because the Obama administration was refusing to provide key details about the president’s actions on the night of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

    February 14, 2013 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  25. bks

    McCain wants an answer but the answer should be in his line of thinking and which is not possible.

    February 14, 2013 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
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