Claiming that they want more information from Chuck Hagel about his past and from the White House about Benghazi, GOP senators are maneuvering to ensure his nomination doesn’t get an up or down vote tomorrow. With the Senate then on recess next week, the earliest he could be confirmed would be February 25.
Meanwhile, NATO defense ministers are meeting in Brussels next week, with Afghanistan prominently on the agenda, and of course President Obama wants Hagel to be there. The GOP seems to have a weird fondness for empty chairs. The Clint Eastwood convention stunt was just pathetic, but a NATO meeting is a BFD.
All 55 Senate Dems will vote for Hagel and 2 Republicans have said they will too, so the Administration has more than the simple majority it needs for the nomination itself. What it doesn’t have are the 60 votes needed for cloture to end debate and bring the nomination to the floor.
Some GOP senators have said that while they will vote against Hagel, they don’t support the filibuster to prevent that vote, but it looks as if some of these senators don’t want to buck their party to end the filibuster tomorrow.