Photo: Associated Press
UPDATE (4:59): Senate Republicans blocked the nomination of Chuck Hagel for Secretary of defence on Thursday, something Majority Leader Harry Reid called “unprecedented.”The Senate’s vote to send Hagel’s nomination to an up-or-down vote failed to get the 60 votes necessary. The measure failed, as 58 Senators voted yes, 40 voted no, and one voted present.
Harry Reid blasted Republicans on the Senate floor and in a statement, called it an “unprecedented filibuster.”
“I’m going to go call Chuck Hagel when I finish here and say I’m sorry, I’m sorry this has happened,” Reid said on the floor. He called the failure to confirm “embarrassing.”
The White House also blasted Senate Republicans in a statement later this evening. Here’s the full statement from White House Press Secretary Jay Carney:
Today, Senate Republicans put political posturing ahead of our nation’s security. For the first time in American history, Senate Republicans filibustered a nominee for Secretary of defence – a member of their own party, a decorated combat veteran, and the right leader for our troops. A clear majority in the United States Senate supports Senator Hagel’s confirmation, so today’s action runs against both the majority will of the Senate and our nation’s interest. This waste of time is not without consequence. We have 66,000 men and women deployed in Afghanistan, and we need our new Secretary of defence to be a part of significant decisions about how we bring that war to a responsible end. Next week in Brussels, the United States will meet with our allies to talk about the transition in Afghanistan at the NATO defence Ministerial, and our next Secretary of defence should be there. With questions about the sequester looming over the Pentagon, our Secretary of defence should be in place. For the sake of national security, it’s time to stop playing politics with our Department of defence, and to move beyond the distractions and delay. Allow this war hero an up or down vote, and let our troops have the Secretary of defence they deserve.
Check below for earlier updates:
UPDATE (4:18): The Senate is voting now to end debate on the Hagel nomination and send his confirmation to an up-or-down vote.
UPDATE (3:30 p.m. ET): The Senate will hold a cloture vote at 4:15 p.m. today on Chuck Hagel’s confirmation as Secretary of defence, Harry Reid said on the Senate floor.
If successful, it would end debate and move to a final vote on confirmation.
The cloture motion requires 60 votes to move to final confirmation. That means five GOP Senators would need to support the motion.
PREVIOUSLY: A Senate Democratic aide confirmed to Business Insider this morning that the Senate does not have the 60 votes necessary to confirm Chuck Hagel as Secretary of defence in a vote Friday.
“GOP leadership has informed us that they will deny us the 60 votes needed to clear cloture and bring Hagel’s nomination up for a final passage vote,” the aide said in an email.
Democrats need five GOP votes to break cloture and send Hagel’s nomination to an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor Friday. During the floor vote, Hagel would only need 50 votes to be confirmed — something that would be virtually certain since there are 55 Democrats in the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid blasted Republicans this morning on the Senate floor, lamenting that for the first time ever, a nomination for Secretary of defence has been filibustered.
“In less than two hours, our country will be without a secretary of defence,” Reid said in opening remarks.
“The filibuster of Senator Hagel’s confirmation is unprecedented. I repeat — not a single nominee for secretary of defence ever in the history of our country has been filibustered. Never. Ever.”
Republicans have mounted stiff opposition to Hagel, a former Republican Senator himself who took some serious blows at his confirmation hearing. A Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday delved into personal attacks at times.
Most thought the threat of filibuster was typical political posturing, with only Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn of Texas indicating they might do so. At that time, five other Republicans came out in opposition of the move.
On Thursday, Reid warned of “serious consequences” from what he called partisan political theatre at a time of war.
“For the sake of our national security it’s time to put aside this political theatre,” Reid said.
“This isn’t a high school getting ready for a football game. We’re trying to confirm somebody to run the defenses of our country — the military of our country.”
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