Photo: Associated Press
A pair of Republican Senators have stepped up their opposition appointment of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of defence after his rough confirmation hearing last week.Foreign Policy Magazine’s Josh Rogin is reporting that Sens. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) want a delay on the final vote, saying that they need more information about Hagel’s past.
Both Republicans have asked for transcripts and information on who paid for Hagel’s speeches over the past five years, as well as a full investigation into whether Hagel had any knowledge of a female staffer in his office reporting sexual harassment from a male colleague.
Responding in a letter late Tuesday, Hagel refused to comply, writing, “your request for financial information regarding certain private corporate and non-profit entities is, by contrast, not mine to provide.” He went on to say that he has a duty to maintain confidentiality of non-public corporate information.
Hagel also wrote that he conducted an exhaustive search for all speaking engagements in the past five years and has provided transcripts to the committee, although some were off-the-record and without prepared remarks. He attached a listing of those speeches.
His response is sure to offer more Republican attacks as his confirmation vote nears.
A filibuster is possible, but not likely, as only Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn of Texas have indicated they might do so. Five other Republicans have come out in opposition — meaning that Hagel’s confirmation may be close.
60 votes are required to break a filibuster. CNN reports his approval is “all but certain”, with 53 Democrats plus two independents who regularly vote with them in the Senate likely voting to confirm. The additional five Republicans would provide enough votes to stop the filibuster.
Daniel Larson of The American Conservative puts the current count at 20 definite Republicans voting no, and two definite yeas:
“Even if all of the remaining Republicans voted to confirm, that would still mean that nearly half of the Senators from Hagel’s own party are voting the other way. It isn’t surprising when the president’s opposition votes in large numbers against a nominee from the president’s party, but in this case Republicans are going out of their way to repudiate one of their own mostly because he is not enough of a jingoist and saber-rattler. Hagel will almost certainly be confirmed, but along the way Senate Republicans are confirming everyone else’s worst fears about their foreign policy views.”
A floor vote has not yet been scheduled.
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