Senate panel to vote on Hagel nomination Tuesday

Rachel Rose Hartman

After postponing its first vote last week, the Senate Armed Services Committee announced on Monday plans to vote Tuesday on whether to confirm former Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel as the next secretary of defense.

Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, the committee's chairman, announced that he intended to hold the vote "after the members have an opportunity for discussion."

A hearing was originally scheduled for Feb. 7, but was postponed.

Most Republicans are expected to oppose Hagel's nomination due to his fervent opposition to the war in Iraq and other past stances. But Democrats maintain a majority in the Senate and on the committee, and the White House is counting on those numbers to push Hagel to confirmation.

A vote by the full Senate could happen as soon as Thursday if Hagel is confirmed by the committee.