February 5th, 2013
05:20 PM ET
10 years ago

Hagel approval all but certain

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.

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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.

Filed under: Chuck Hagel • Senate
soundoff (95 Responses)
  1. JD

    Dont be surprised. Hagel is the biggest peacenick out there who lost reelection because he wasnt really a conservative....just a RINO. He was never a neocon. He hates Jews and Israel, never saw a war he didnt want to quit at, thinks gays and women in combat and whatever other social experiment Obama wants to try is okay by him and he believes we should unilaterally disarm and give up all our nukes all while countries like North Korea, Iran and even China and Russia are either still targeting us or have made it clear that they will as soon as they can build the capability. Say goodbye to the respect that the US military used to have in the world. We have blown our economic leadership in the world.... on to destroying the military leadership.

    February 5, 2013 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  2. nomad2003

    James Trainor said....
    He is smart and fair and he fought for our nation. He will make a wonderful secretary of state!!
    Well, Kerry will not like that.... he was sworn in as the secretary of state... Hagel will sit around the fire, sing Kumbaya, and Iran and North Korea will stop all their nuke development... Does he have a guitar?

    February 5, 2013 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  3. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I am not 100% for Hagel, but I am enough for him to take the post. It is good that McCain opposes the filabuster idea.

    February 5, 2013 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  4. BunnyFooFoo

    A nation of 350 million people, and this bumbling clown is the best we can come up for the most important job in the defense department? That's the really depressing part.

    February 5, 2013 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |

    We're going to have more Benghazi tragedies down the road, and on our homeland with incompetent choices like this – which is how Benghazi happened in the first place. It all points back to the president.

    February 5, 2013 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  6. mohammad

    AIPAC (Israel lobby in the US) and special interest groups tells them what to do and when to do it. Shamless senators.

    February 5, 2013 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  7. Austin

    its sad to see Panetta leave, im a republican but i have no trust in Hagel. He is a pushover who doesn't have any respect for American allies, defense, and our interests. Panetta actually was a great leader, and I frankly felt much safer with him as SOD

    February 5, 2013 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  8. Peter Wolfe

    I don't like this guys homophobic reputation but otherthan that perhaps okay? I know tha everybody needs to cut like the civilian work-force as well so lets see.

    February 6, 2013 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  9. Denver Dave

    Not a friend of Israel, this is going to be a disaster for US foreign policy in the Middle East if Hagel is appointed.

    February 6, 2013 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  10. Hugh Mann

    The working man is taking over America, just like Khrushchev predicted.
    I think the 1% will bail and set up shop in Singapore

    February 6, 2013 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  11. Adakole

    @James Trainor...Hagel is been considered 4 d post of defence secretary and state. I knw u dont ve any moral right all d stuff u wrote there.

    February 6, 2013 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  12. Getoverit

    But he's a Republican. Surely the lefties here can come up with more hatred than this!

    February 6, 2013 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  13. m k

    we are still at war.how do you think our troops feel

    February 6, 2013 03:24 am at 3:24 am |
  14. Frackory

    America decides for American's, I agree with that one but to vote for someone is bias is a different story. American values are for sale and whatever is twisted get's voted! So, I wouldn't put a pass on this one. I thought that someone objective would be the best for the job but I guess is not. We are playing now with the 2nd amendment, then we are bias what is next? After all: What difference that it make?

    February 6, 2013 03:31 am at 3:31 am |
  15. DUQU

    To all the Republican Senators:

    Filibuster or RESIGN!

    Anything less would be a dereliction of duty! If you believe that Chuck Hagel would weaken the security of the United States as secretary of defense then as a U.S. Senator you are sworn to do everything within the law to prevent his confirmation!

    Just voting 'no' when you know that it will make no difference is the same as voting 'YES'. The filibuster was intended for times like this, when the stakes are too high, and you can't in good conscience allow a vote that threatens everything you believe in!

    February 6, 2013 04:36 am at 4:36 am |
  16. CarolO

    Nice to see that the Republicans are still busy picking Obama's cabinet. Guess they ran out of post offices to name.

    February 6, 2013 05:19 am at 5:19 am |
  17. Ruben M. Cabrera

    All this dramatic nonsense is pure pique over the fact that Hagel had the audacity to side w/ Obama instead of McCain & Romney. How well justified he was in doing so. Remember McCain's "the fundamentals of the economy are strong" on the eve of the economic collapse? How about Romney's "47% comments"?

    February 6, 2013 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  18. Facts don't Lie

    so then the McCain..Graham..and the new 3rd amigo Cruz show was just that..a show for the entertainment of those against the president. What a waste of time and money.

    February 6, 2013 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  19. Rob Johnson

    Hagel says some politicians are intimidated by pro-Israeli forces, and some people interpret that to mean he "hates Israel."

    Do these fools not realize that kind of thing is EXACTLY what Hagel is talking about? Dare to question anything Israel does and there are people in this country who will call you an anti-Semite.

    I look forward to having a Defense Secretary who sees through the spin and realizes that the best interests of the US are not always served by doing what Israel wants us to do.

    February 6, 2013 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  20. Marsally

    Hagel thinks for himself, yet listens to others. I like him.

    February 6, 2013 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
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