Showdown coming over Hagel
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv) has set up a Friday showdown over the nomination of anti-Israel Chuck Hagel to become the United States' next Secretary of Defense.
In an attempt to get Hagel installed as secretary of defense before next week’s recess, the majority leader set up a Friday vote to cut off debate, setting up a crucial 60-vote test. If Reid can find five Republicans to join the 55 members of the Democratic Caucus, the Senate could approve Hagel quickly — possibly Saturday or earlier.
But if he can’t, the White House could be forced to recalibrate its strategy as the nomination drags out into late February. And that could give the GOP more time to mount opposition to Hagel’s nomination, which has been targeted because of the former Nebraska senator’s past comments on Iran, Iraq and Israel and his shaky performance at his confirmation hearings.The Democrats are whining that this has never happened before.
Democrats are warning Republicans that the precedent they set by forcing a cloture vote on the national security nominees — particularly on Hagel — would come back to haunt them when a GOP president eventually returns to the White House.
“This is the first time in the history of our country that a presidential nominee for secretary of defense has been filibustered,” Reid said on the floor. “What a shame, but that’s the way it is.”