Obama nominee for defense likely to get confirmed - John McCain

WASHINGTON Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:16pm IST

Sen. John McCain (R-Az) talks to the press after a special closed meeting of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, also attended by senior figures of the U.S. army on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 4, 2004. REUTERS/Jason Reed/Files

Sen. John McCain (R-Az) talks to the press after a special closed meeting of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, also attended by senior figures of the U.S. army on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 4, 2004.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed/Files

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A senior Republican senator said on Sunday that party colleagues will drop tactics to delay a vote on former Senator Chuck Hagel to be defense secretary, saying that President Barack Obama's nominee likely has sufficient support to be confirmed into this key post.

"We will have a vote when we get back, and I am confident that Senator Hagel will probably have the votes necessary to be confirmed as the secretary of defense," Arizona Senator John McCain, who has led the opposition against his former Republican colleague, told NBC's "Meet the Press" program.

Democrats, who control the Senate, have scheduled a vote for February 26, after members return from a week-long recess. Republicans held up the nomination last week in a delay characterized as the first time the Senate had used a procedural tactic called a filibuster to block a defense nominee.

With Democrats holding 55 votes in the 100-seat Senate, Hagel's nomination is expected to win the simple majority of 51 votes needed for his confirmation to become the civilian leader at the Pentagon, once such a vote is allowed.

If confirmed, Hagel, a 66-year old decorated Vietnam War veteran, would replace 74-year-old Leon Panetta.

Hagel, who broke from his party as a senator by opposing former President George W. Bush's handling of the Iraq War, has faced withering criticism from Republicans since Obama nominated him on January 7 to be the defense secretary.

Some Republicans have questioned if Hagel is sufficiently supportive of Israel, tough enough on Iran or capable of leading the Pentagon. McCain continued on Sunday to voice concern.

"I don't believe he is qualified. But I don't believe we should hold up his nomination any further because I think it is a reasonable amount of time to have questions answered."

(Reporting By Alister Bull; Editing by Philip Barbara)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Pro-Democracy Protests

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Ebola in U.S.

Ebola in U.S.

Dallas Ebola patient vomited outside apartment on way to hospital  Full Article 

Fighting Islamic State

Fighting Islamic State

Turkey vows to fight Islamic State, coalition strikes near border.  Full Article 

'Ground Zero'

'Ground Zero'

Concerns, questions as Dallas becomes 'ground zero' for Ebola in U.S.  Full Article 

Security Lapse

Security Lapse

U.S. Secret Service director resigns under fire  Full Article 

Road Offences

Road Offences

France's Le Pen loses driving licence, but says not her fault.  Full Article 

Nuclear Deal

Nuclear Deal

Israel's Netanyahu to Obama: Don't allow Iran deal that leaves it at nuclear threshold.  Full Article 

Germany Politics

Germany Politics

German defence crisis puts potential Merkel successor in hot seat .  Full Article 

Peace Conference

Peace Conference

Nobel Laureates condemn South Africa visa denial to Dalai Lama.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage