Republicans block Hagel voteblocked a vote on Chuck Hagel's nomination to be Secretary of Defense on Thursday evening (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
Senate Republicans in a 58-40 vote Thursday blocked former Sen. Chuck Hagel’s (R-Neb.) nomination as Defense secretary from proceeding to a final up-or-down vote.
Four Republicans — Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Thad Cochran (Miss.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Mike Johanns (Neb.)— joined 55 Democrats and Independents in supporting the nomination. Sixty votes were needed to cut off debate, leaving Democrats one vote short.
The final 58-40 tally reflected a no vote from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who switched his vote from yes to preserve his ability to bring up the nomination again.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) voted present and Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) missed the vote.Collins plans to vote against the nomination, but it sure sounds like McCain will be voting for it. None of the other votes against cloture was a surprise.
The nomination will be brought to the Senate again on February 25.
The Emergency Committee for Israel issued a statement after the vote:
"The fight goes on. The Emergency Committee for Israel salutes the Senators who courageously voted today to prevent the rubber-stamping of Chuck Hagel as the next Secretary of Defense. Based on his record and his performance at his hearing before the Armed Services Committee, it's clear that Mr. Hagel is ill-suited to this position of high responsibility. The Emergency Committee for Israel intends to redouble its efforts to bring to light Mr. Hagel's complete record for Senators to consider. Even today new reports have emerged of further anti-Israel statements by Mr. Hagel, including the slander (in a 2007 speech at Rutgers University) that the State Department was acting as an "adjunct" of the Israeli foreign ministry. The Emergency Committee for Israel will continue to work to convince a majority of senators of the undeniable truth that we can do much, much better than Mr. Hagel."Ten days is a long time. Lots more dirt can be uncovered by then.
- William Kristol, ECI chairman