Outcome of Hagel filibuster vote uncertain
February 13th, 2013
08:10 PM ET
10 months 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 (132 Responses)
  1. 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 |
  2. 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.
    There is NO LOW these guys won't go.....

    February 14, 2013 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  3. randomsage

    I'm an independent & I think Obama should speak up about Bengazi. Not to inquire aboutt it. Just wanting our gov't to be more honest about open issues that we'd usually forget.

    February 14, 2013 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  4. Bill2000

    There you go , republicans say we won't filibuster!

    February 14, 2013 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  5. WiredweirdinSF

    Did you hear that incompetent president who is trying to get this witless toady the job of destroying our defense is off on his second vacation of the year after promising not to rest until the economy is fixed? That is after 57 days of vacations last year. No wonder this country is in such bad shape when we have idiots who voted for this corrupt fraud.

    February 14, 2013 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  6. bob from bridgeport

    Policies of obstruction will only serve as fuel to drive the balance of these fools out of office. If Obama want something or someone than it must be bad-Republicans don`t even have to know what it is or who he is in order to vote against it. I don`t pity the fools....

    February 14, 2013 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  7. Florida Joe

    This is exactly why Harry Reed should not trust the Repubs. He should have made these clowns come to the floor and talk if they want to filibuter. This makes no sense, since when is 51% not a majority...You missed your chance AGAIN
    Might have been nice if these same Repubs had cared to find out what Bush knew about 9/11
    Where was your outrage then........this is why Washington is broken

    February 14, 2013 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  8. Cathy

    This is shameful. Mr. Hagel is extremely qualified for the job. GOP should be ashamed of themselves. McCain,Graham. and the rest of them should be worried about the next election.Cruz does not deserve to be there.The decorum of Congress has sadly gone the way of compromise. 113th could be WORSE than 112. God help us all.

    February 14, 2013 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  9. The Right Left

    A person who served in Vietnam as a front line soldier, Hagel is not a war hero, in the eyes of the GOP, unless he is an ultra rightwing Neo-Con, ready to serve the Interest of Israel, even if it hurts the US.

    The mentality of these Confederate style sell outs is palpable.

    February 14, 2013 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  10. Tony in Maine

    Reid should have developed a spine and led the Democrats to eliminate both the filibuster and the "hold." Outside of returning the Senate to a semblence of democracy, it would have been fun to watch McConnel, McCain and Graham lie down on the Senate floor, kick their feet and hold their breath.

    February 14, 2013 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  11. Howie

    When has McCain ever been consistent?

    February 14, 2013 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  12. bph

    This is the real McCain, hateful, vindictive and full of revenge for those who oppose him in any way, remember Gagel and his wife were Obama supporters, much like McCain treated W after he lost his bid to be president.......................hate keeps this man going.

    February 14, 2013 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  13. bph

    oops I meant Hagel

    February 14, 2013 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  14. MattL

    Stupid Republicans...keep digging that grave.

    February 14, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  15. db

    If getting answers about Benghazi was so important, why didn't they demand or filibuster Kerry's nomination for Secretary of State? After all, it an embassy was attacked and all embassies are the responsibility of the State Department, not the Military.

    February 14, 2013 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  16. rs

    No Secretary of Defense HAS EVER had their confirmation vote filibustered (in this case by Mr. Lindsey Graham). Does it not occur to Mr. Graham, and to his Republican Party that aside from the rudeness and disrespect of their actions that they are in fact jeopardizing the very safety and security of the United States? Do these treasonous dogs need to have the various dangers of the world pointed out to them? N. Korea, Iran, their precious Israel, never mind the ongoing "Arab Spring"?

    For what? This is all about Mr. Graham's fantasy of finding something on the order of WMDs, or Iran-Contra at the bottom of the four tragic deaths in Benghazi.

    I don't know what stinks more: that Republicans endlessly politicise the deaths of people they never cared about; that they will put personal and political gain ahead of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA; Their utter and complete disrespect for the President and the American People; the fact that Hagel played absolutely NO ROLE in the events in Libya, or; the GOP's absolute addiction to chaos (economic, civil or diplomatic).

    Perhaps Mr. Graham should spend some time in Gitmo- a place where America places terrorists like him.

    February 14, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  17. Bessy

    The only way to stop crap like this is to vote all Republicans out of office. They cannot be believed or trusted.

    February 14, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  18. jms58

    I hope Reid is happy with his agreement with the" Grumpy Old Party" on the filibuster.

    February 14, 2013 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  19. rs


    For God's sake Pres. Obama please give an exact account of what the administration knows & did before, during & after the attack at our U.S. Consolate at Benghazi, Libya.
    For God's sake Raffy, PAY ATTENTION! There have been Senate Hearings on this. It HAS been explained- better than the GOP's WMD lies, or Iran-Contra,the Marine deaths in Lebanon or other diplomatic disasters. Grow-up. Do you really think there is NO DANGER in not having a Secretary of Defense?

    February 14, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  20. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    I have a suggestion for the President. Want John McCain's unwavering support? Appoint him the new U.S. Ambassador to Libya. Problem solved.

    February 14, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Doubts were raised Wednesday after Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said he was reconsidering his pledge not to filibuster Hagel
    If your word is not worth s hit, then neither are you Sen. McShame.

    February 14, 2013 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  22. Richard Long

    Solyndra, Susan Rice, ABC 123 Battery, Check Hagel... obama is just full of great choices

    February 14, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  23. Paul

    I watched C span yesterday and it was sad, but comical, how the republicans acted. Hagel served his country and received 2 Purple Hearts. He is also a republican!!!!! The only thing they have against him is that Obama nominated him. If he had been nominated by a repub president they would be raving about how qualified he is. Obama won the election and he can't even assemble his team. Pathetic politics.

    February 14, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  24. marion

    McCain is just a bitter old war dog. Anybody dumb enough to choose Sarah Palin as a running mate is unfit for Political Life.

    February 14, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  25. BigPPP

    I think we ought to investigate how the intelligence mistake led to a war cost theUS economy more than 2 trillion dollar, and more than 3000 death, and tens of thousands that need medical attention and after math of the war for the tax payers and millions of citizens were affect by the war. Prevent similar occurence is more important than Bengazi political motivated investigation, reinvestigation, rereinvestigation, rerereinvestigate...

    February 14, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
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