Senate panel won’t vote on Hagel nomination this week

Olivier Knox
The Ticket

Is Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be defense secretary in trouble? Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin announced on Wednesday that his panel would not vote this week on the Republican former senator’s confirmation.

“The committee’s vote on Sen. Hagel’s nomination has not been scheduled,” Levin said in a statement emailed to reporters.

“I had hoped to hold a vote on the nomination this week, but the committee’s review of the nomination is not yet complete. I intend to schedule a vote on the nomination as soon as possible,” the Democratic lawmaker said.

Republicans on the committee had called for a delay until Hagel provides more details about speeches he has given and about his personal finances. Previously, GOP lawmakers had urged that no vote occur until the committee held a hearing on the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans. That hearing is set for Thursday.

An official working on Hagel's confirmation urged quick action on the nomination, pointing to the war in Afghanistan and other issues facing the next defense secretary.

Hagel, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, endured a pounding last week in a contentious confirmation hearing, at times seeming unprepared for questions about Iran and Israel that could have been anticipated. Still, Republicans do not seem prepared to filibuster the nomination, and Democrats have four more votes than the 51 they need to confirm Hagel.

The committee's Democratic majority is expected to support his confirmation, referring it to the full Senate for a final vote.