Outcome of Hagel filibuster vote uncertain
February 13th, 2013
08:10 PM ET
9 years 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. Joi Gibson

    Senator Hagel's nomination has absolutely nothing to do with Benghazi. It is outrageous to hold up the Secretary of Defense nomination especially coming from these war mongers – you would think they would want the Pentagon fully staffed. This is just grandstanding. A report has been put out about the failings in Benghazi. Former Secretary of State Clinton said the recommendations have been put into place or being implemented. How long are they going to carry on about this. Benghazi has NOTHING to do with the Secretary of Defense nomination. SHAME on these senators.

    February 14, 2013 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  2. bankrupt1

    We need somebody on our side. Not someone taking an oath to shoot at us.

    February 14, 2013 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    If John McCain has become the next leader of the GOP ... the GOP is in more trouble then I've already given them credit for.

    McCain (and Graham) represent all that is abhorrent in politics.

    February 14, 2013 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Tony in Maine wrote:

    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.
    You think Reid should have done something about filibuster abuse when he had the chance? Mmm, maybe. I think Reid did the right thing to not pursue a change. The day will come when Democrats will be the minority in the Senate. By leaving it alone, Reid has given Republicans all of the rope they need to hang themselves, and their doing a very good job of it.

    February 14, 2013 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  5. rs

    The GOP has self-destructed.
    This is an indesputable fact.
    They are in the pockets of radical lobbyists, who they eagerly toil for while ignoring the needs of real citizens.
    They are actively undermining actions of government at all levels in the U.S.
    They behave like petty dictators- trying to get their way (against the will of the majority) through election trickey, lies, deceit, oppression and class warfare.
    Face it, these guys AREN'T Americans- they are active terrorists at work to destroy our nation and remake it for themselves.
    It is time they get treated like the radical, anti-Americans they are.

    February 14, 2013 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  6. Joi Gibson

    Oops, meant Dept. of Defense fully staffed.

    February 14, 2013 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  7. Tony in Maine

    Beirut...1983. Oh wait, that was HRH Ronald I and he fired a few "volkswagen" sized shells into Druse villages as our response. It took Arab militants decades to stop laughing long enough to bring down the WTC.

    February 14, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  8. Larry L


    I'm an independent & I think Obama should speak up about Bengazi.
    We can't get into a position where we can allow Congressmen constantly fishing for a scandal to force us to divulge the classified details of every operational scenario. We had numerous incidents happening simultaneously when Benghazi occurred. This was one the Republicans seized upon to try and create a "swift boat" political sound bite. To some extent their tactic worked because the Fox News drones were hungry for a new conspiracy. Fact is – $h!= happens in the world of military and foreign diplomatic operations of violent regions of the world. McCain is not the Commander In Chief – and he will never get over the bitterness and jealousy associated with that fact.

    February 14, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  9. caribel

    The President and his administration have answered all of the questions they can answer about the Benghazi incident. There is nothing more to say about the matter, except to try to do better next time in an uncertain situation. It is truly pitiful that the Republicans are trying so hard to sling mud on the Obama Administration, hoping to shift public opinion in their favor, by blackmailing the installment of a cabinet nominee. Most reasonable citizens see straight through the charade. If I were a South Carolina native, I would be so embarrassed of Lindsey Graham. Somebody with intelligence and polish please defeat this man the next time he runs for office.

    February 14, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  10. kurtinco

    I want to know the name of the senator that is filibustering this nomination. If you want to throw a wrench into this country's national defense, at least have the balls to identify yourself and defend your so-called principals publically.

    February 14, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  11. rs

    "Doubts were raised Wednesday after Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said he was reconsidering his pledge not to filibuster Hagel"

    It was in fact completely predictable (after all Republicans' tactics are so very linear). They cannot help themselves. They are completely addicted to doing anything that obstructs the business or betterment of the U.S.

    February 14, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  12. Linda

    This is more reason why the country will totally turn against the GOP...... they not only turn their backs on this Country and the people but their own Party members.....if you don't believe the way they do then hit the road Jack they don't want you or need you.....you have to be totally conserivative, a War NUT and an Obama Hater or they will try to cut you up in little pieces and spit you out.......Never will I vote for another Republican......

    February 14, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  13. Sniffit

    "Outcome of Hagel filibuster vote uncertain"

    No, it really isn't. The outcome is simple, reagardless of whether the GOP/Teatrolls succeed in preventing his confirmation of Hagel's appointment: more damage to our systems of gov't and more damage to the GOP/Teatrolls in terms of the majority of the public's perception of them. So why would they do it? They view it as a pyrrhic victory, because it also does more damage to the proper functioning of the executive branch while a Dem is int he WH. They will do anything to hamstring Obama and the efficient, efficacious running of the government while they do not have control...and then, when things slip thru the cracks or mistakes get amde because cabinet positinos haven't been filled or other nominations have been deliberately delayed and stymied...they will turn around and say "look at all the incompetence."

    GOP Motto: "Gov't is broken. See...we broke it."

    February 14, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  14. Lynda/Minnesota

    John McCain's dream was to become President of the United States. The voters decided otherwise.
    John McCain's dream was to become Secretary of State. Presidents in power (both Dem and Rep) decided otherwise.
    John McCain's dream was to become Secretary of Defense. This President decided otherwise.

    John McCain is stamping his feet in a hissy fit of total denial.

    It's time for John McCain retire into that same political realm of dust bin irrelevance that his running mate Sarah Palin was swept into by an American populace sick and tired of their games and their foot stamping ego's.

    February 14, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  15. Larry L

    In the 1983 Beirut bombing, with 243 American Service-members killed and sixty wounded, President Reagan hardly took responsibility. The report summary read:

    "The commission's report found senior military officials responsible for security lapses and blamed the military chain of command for the disaster. It suggested that there might have been many fewer deaths if the barracks guards had carried loaded weapons and a barrier more substantial than the barbed wire the bomber drove over easily."

    The Congress had enough sense to realize the POTUS does not and cannot directly manage all of the hundreds of geographical locations where US Forces are placed in potentially dangerous scenarios. Lessons were learned and the procedures to protect troops upgraded. It's important to note that Congress didn't REDUCE funding for protection like our current group of political weasels.

    February 14, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  16. Andre' J. Perrin

    This is nothing but petty politics.

    It is clear McClain still has hard feelings about losing to Obama.

    He needs to put that aside. I cannot beleive McCain is acting like a baby.

    February 14, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  17. Colorado

    Chuck Hagel had nothing to do with Bengazi. If Sen. McCain was truly so concerned he would have held up Sec. Kerry's nomination. After all, it is a State Dept. issue. Just more grandstanding while wasting tax money.

    February 14, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  18. Jill-IN

    Chuck Hagel will be an excellent Secretary of Defense. He is a decorated veteran, highly qualified, educated leader, a real patriot. As a Vietnam veterans we support him. Lindsey Graham has never served in the military off our shores and some of the right wing neo cons have never served. They are disgusting and abhorrent excuses for leadership of the USA. I ask all Vietnam vets to speak up and stand for Chuck Hagel today.

    February 14, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  19. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    With due respect to John McCain who so bravely served his country, except for when he gave classified information to the Vietcong after being captured so that they would go easy on him, I blame the people of Arizona who put the welfare of their family and country at stake each and every time they voted John McCain to another term. Shame on you Arizona. Shame shame shame shame on you.

    February 14, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  20. Chuk

    John McCain has never gotten over losing the presidential vote in 2008. He never will. He is now relegated to playing this silly political games in a small minded way. Those are the heapscraps, John. Get over your loss and stop hurting your party. Because as they say, what goes around comes around.
    It is not "patroitic" to obstruct everything the president does because you lost to him. Frankly, you don't give a damn about Benghazi or those who lost their lives. This is about John McCain and the only game he has left to play.
    Another game McCain likes playing is calling for "boots on the ground" everytime there's a conflict anywhere in the world. In his mind he probably thinks he's back in vietnam. For that I say, just strap McCain on a fighter jet and send him on his way to fight to his heart's content!
    You lost, McCain. Get over it!

    February 14, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  21. Larry L

    @Richard Long

    Solyndra, Susan Rice, ABC 123 Battery, Check Hagel... obama is just full of great choices
    Do you know about Obama forcing us all to become gay Muslims? It's true! I've got a very close friend who knows a guy who lives next door to a man who works near the White House and does the laundry of one of the assistants to a mid-level White House staffer's neighbor... The liberal "lame-stream media" keeps suppressing it!

    February 14, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  22. mike Lake Orion Michigan

    I see nothing wrong with delaying or even refusing to nominate Chuck Hagel. This guy is wrong for the job. What is wrong with making the deputy Acting Secretary of Defense? Many agencies have dealt with this. Lets not make a hasty decision we could be sorry for.

    February 14, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  23. PJ

    It's rare that I can say anything nice about John McCain lately, but his "smack down" of Ted Cruz was priceless.

    February 14, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  24. rs

    There are these things called "facts". Your posts are valueless becuase they don't have any. Consider finding more than one source (Rush) for your screeds. They will be more valuable for that effort.

    February 14, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  25. Manti

    This is way too funny. The GOP are all in LaLa land. When will these children get out of pre-school.

    February 14, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
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