McCain opposes any effort by colleagues to block Hagel vote
February 4th, 2013
05:52 PM ET
10 years ago

McCain opposes any effort by colleagues to block Hagel vote

Washington (CNN) - Despite his sharp criticism of cabinet nominee Chuck Hagel, Sen. John McCain said Monday he would oppose any effort by his colleagues to block an up-or-down vote on President Obama's pick to run the Department of Defense.

"I do not support a filibuster," McCain said. "I don't think it's appropriate and I would oppose such a move."

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The Arizona senator told reporters Tuesday he had not decided whether to support Hagel's nomination, but said he would try to persuade his colleagues not to delay a vote. To overcome a filibuster, 60 senators must vote to end debate on the nominee and force a vote - a higher threshold than needed to confirm him.

Traditionally, senators are reluctant to filibuster a presidential Cabinet pick, and view the nominations as the president's prerogative. In the country's history, a Cabinet nominee has never faced a formal filibuster that required 60 votes to break, according to Betty Koed of the Senate Historian's Office.

Over the weekend, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told Kentucky TV station CN2 that "opposition to [Hagel] is intensifying," and said it was "not clear yet" whether Hagel would need the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster.

As a long-time member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, McCain is considered an influential voice on military issues, and his decision on Hagel could sway his colleagues.

Old friends, Hagel and McCain clashed during last week's confirmation hearing, when McCain accused Hagel of dodging a question on Iraq war policy.

"To any casual observer I was obviously not happy with his failure to answer a really simple question," McCain said, adding he was waiting for a response from Hagel on additional questions before making his decision on whether to support him.

–CNN Senior Producer Ted Barrett contributed to this report.

Filed under: Chuck Hagel • Department of Defense • John McCain • Senate
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. BeverlyNC

    That's surprising since he was a rude, arrogant angry jerk at Hagel's confirmation hearing – seeming to have a senior moment as he spent all his time on Vietnam and Iraq. McCain needs to retire. You never know when he is going to fly off the handle. He is ruining his reputation by spending his last years as a bitter old man who is making himself more and more irrelevant and not being viewed as a leader anymore.

    February 4, 2013 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  2. blake

    Nobody cares what you think Mr. McCain. You are a classic RINO. Embraced by neither the Democrats or your own party.

    February 4, 2013 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  3. Ann

    Mc Cain is NEVER going to accept it that he lost to President Obama.

    February 4, 2013 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  4. California Gary

    Don't tell me "good" John is back for a moment........the 'bad" John side of his personality has been dominating lately. He is like Gumps box of never know what you're gonna get.

    February 4, 2013 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  5. plain&simple

    McCain has worked years to get his power, he loves the attention it brings him. He now is fading and one can only hope he can go gracefully into the dark. This latest position helps that. Make your fuss then move on.....politics as usual.

    February 4, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  6. John the Historian

    Since the Republicans Neocons see defeat why not give in. Thank God we will not have war with Iran, a country of 80 million people. Hell the USA could not handle the 29 million people of Iraq. War is death destruction, horror, and disease. Hope the Republicans remember Eisenhower said beware of the military-industrial complex.

    February 4, 2013 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  7. The Elephant in the Room

    The piece states that McCain is "considered an influential voice on military affairs".

    Well, not really by those of us paying attention to the lack of substance and critical thinking ability in this washed up, past his prime, Senator. Only the media and Sunday talk shows keep turning to this relic of the past as some sort of respectable oracle.

    McCain was never Presidential material; I think we all see that now. He is an angry, WAR-FIRST, man. Once past the proceedural hurdle of confirmation, I hope Hagel embarasses McCain for his lack of intellect and critical thinking.

    February 4, 2013 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  8. Evergreen

    Is McCain suffering from a personality disorder? He gave every indication that Mr. Hagel is not qualified for the job and that he would probably vote against him. Now he is against anyone that might be against Mr. Hagel?!

    February 4, 2013 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  9. ghostriter

    Imagine that....something that these recent republicans haven't filibustered. Give it time, though. I'm sure our record breaking conservatives are seriously considering it.

    February 4, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  10. Pete

    McCains upset with Hagel ,why because Hagels tired of the needless death and destruction that lies created for a war that should of never happened..Why don't your war mongering republicans go after Bush ,Cheney and the rest of his gang and go after them for human rights violations ,150 countries and counting signed indictments against these treasonistic murderers and we as the suppoidly most civilized nation won't prosecute one of our own,what are we hypocrites,I know republicans are but most intelligent people want them taken to the Hague for what they've done and its time we did it ,right Americans!!

    February 4, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  11. Martha

    I was once a fan of Senator McCain. He lost me when he picked Palin in 2008 & when his understanding of the financial crisis that year was so befuddled. True, Senator Haegel didn't have a seller day with the Senste Foreign Relations commitee, but I found McCain to be gratuitously rude & elderly brat.

    February 4, 2013 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  12. jack

    flip flopper – again.

    February 4, 2013 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  13. Martha in CF

    Ya know, I thought McCain was to be off the Foreign Affairs Committee. This guy has no value anymore. He and Lindsay Graham are nay sayers on everything.

    February 4, 2013 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  14. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Something I agree with McCain on which isn't usual.

    February 4, 2013 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |