Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Republicans snub White House, delay Hagel vote
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Feb 14, 2013

Democrats call key vote in Hagel row
Washington (AFP) Feb 14, 2013 - The top Senate Democrat on Thursday made a dramatic bid to smash Republican resistance blocking the confirmation of Chuck Hagel as the next US defense secretary, but the gambit looked likely to fail.

Senate Democratic Majority leader Harry Reid suddenly called a procedural vote on the nomination at 4:15 pm (2115 GMT) but appeared likely to fall short of the 60-vote super-majority in the 100-seat Senate needed to prevail.

A defeat would not doom Hagel's nomination to lead the Pentagon in President Barack Obama's second term, but would leave him in limbo while the Senate takes a week-long recess.

Republicans had blocked Reid's previous attempts to bring Hagel's nomination up for a vote on the Senate floor, demanding more details on his finances and on Obama's management of a September attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.

Later, Republicans delaying Hagel's nomination said they were ready to drop their blocking tactics, but only after the recess, frustrating White House demands for a vote by the end of this week.

US Senate Republicans on Thursday ignored a White House demand for a vote to confirm President Barack Obama's pick for defense chief, throwing up a roadblock at a time of rising national security tensions.

Democrats fell one vote short of overcoming the procedural delay and clearing the way for final consideration of Chuck Hagel. Republicans had sought more time to receive and study responses to questions that they said remained unanswered.

The delay means the confirmation vote for Hagel, a former Republican senator, will most likely happen some 10 days from now after a one-week Senate recess.

Obama called the move "unfortunate," while furious Senate Democrats insisted their rivals were more concerned with political point-scoring than ensuring the defense department was adequately represented.

Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid took to the floor immediately after the vote to rail against the move, which he saw as "embarrassing the president" at a time of strain in the Middle East, ongoing war in Afghanistan and North Korea recently testing a nuclear device.

In a separate statement, Reid expressed bafflement about what he described as "one of the saddest spectacles I have witnessed in my 27 years in the Senate."

The defeat does not doom Hagel's nomination to lead the Pentagon in Obama's second term, and Reid has already said he would call another procedural vote on February 26, the first working day after next week's break.

"I think we all need to take a deep breath," a White House official said on condition of anonymity.

"Senator Hagel is going to be confirmed, if not tomorrow then when the Senate returns from recess."

Before allowing a vote, Republicans had demanded more information on Hagel's finances and on Obama's role in responding to an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya last year.

Reid responded by trying to force a vote on the nomination. With Democrats holding a 55-45 edge in the Senate, he needed five Republicans to get to the 60 votes needed to overcome the blocking tactics. He got just four.

Without such a filibuster, presidential nominations require a simple majority of senators in the 100-seat chamber -- a barrier Hagel is virtually assured of surpassing.

Obama said it was the first time ever that a defense secretary nominee was filibustered.

But in a "Google fireside hangout" filmed at the White House, he said "my expectation and hope is that Chuck Hagel, who richly deserves to get a vote on the floor of the Senate, will be confirmed as our defense secretary."

The delay could cause allies to worry.

"It's just kind of unfortunate that this kind of politics intrudes at a time when I am still presiding over a war in Afghanistan and I need a secretary of defense who is coordinating with our allies to make sure our troops are getting the kind of strategy and mission that they deserve," Obama said.

The White House said Hagel had been expected to appear at a NATO ministerial meeting next week in Brussels to discuss the pull-out from Afghanistan.

Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had already announced plans to leave Washington and return to California, but Pentagon spokesman George Little said Panetta "will attend the NATO Ministerial in Brussels next week and will continue to carry out his duties as secretary of defense."

Reid accused Republicans of acting like children over Hagel, saying it was "shocking" they would do so while the United States was at war.

Hagel's hope to eventually overcome the filibuster later this month appear to rest with his one-time friend and colleague Senator John McCain, who eviscerated him in a confirmation hearing and voted Thursday for the delay.

McCain and his fellow Republican hawk Senator Lindsey Graham both said they would drop the delaying tactics after the break.

Both men Thursday got a letter from the White House with new details of Obama's actions on the night of the attack by militants on the consulate in Benghazi which killed four Americans.

It confirmed that then secretary of state Hillary Clinton had called Mohammed Megaryef, president of the Libyan national assembly, on the night of the Benghazi attack but Obama had not.

Graham had argued that the extra weight of a demand by the US president, at a time when the consulate was under siege, might have mobilized Libyan forces more quickly and saved some American lives.

Several Republicans have taken issue with Hagel's public stances in recent years on Iran, nuclear weapons, Israel and the US troop surge in Iraq.


Related Links
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

China ships in disputed waters: Japan coastguard
Tokyo (AFP) Feb 15, 2013
Three Chinese government ships entered disputed waters Friday, the Japanese coastguard said, as the two countries' soured relationship grew more complex following North Korea's nuclear test. Maritime surveillance vessels sailed near the Japanese-controlled Senkaku islands, which Beijing claims as the Diaoyus, around 9:30 am (0030 GMT), according to the coastguard. "Japan cannot accept th ... read more

Building a lunar base with 3D printing

US, Europe team up for moon fly-by

Russia to Launch Lunar Mission in 2015

US, Europe team up for moon fly-by

Rover Walkabout Continues at Cape York

Mars Rock Takes Unusual Form

In milestone, Mars rover collects first bedrock sample

How The World's Saltiest Pond Gets Its Salt; Implications For Water On Mars

Supersonic skydiver even faster than thought

Ahmadinejad says ready to be Iran's first spaceman

Iran's Bio-Capsule Comes Back from Space

A Hero For Humankind: Yuri Gagarin's Spaceflight

Reshuffle for Tiangong

China to launch 20 spacecrafts in 2013

Mr Xi in Space

China plans manned space launch in 2013: state media

Progress docks with ISS

NASA to Send Inflatable Pod to International Space Station

ISS to get inflatable module

ESA workhorse to power NASA's Orion spacecraft

Another Sea Launch Failure

ILS Concludes Yamal 402 Proton Launch Investigation

Ariane 5 delivers record payload off back-to-back launches this week

Eutelsat and Arianespace sign new multi-year multiple launch services agreement

Earth-like planets are right next door

Direct Infrared Image Of An Arm In Disk Demonstrates Transition To Planet Formation

Kepler Data Suggest Earth-size Planets May Be Next Door

Earth-like planets may be closer than thought: study

Indra Develops The First High-Resolution Passive Radar System

ORNL scientists solve mercury mystery

3D Printing on the Micrometer Scale

Nextdoor renovates before taking on the world

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement