The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

February 12, 2013

Senate panel to vote on Defense nominee Hagel

— WASHINGTON (AP) — Chuck Hagel faced his first major hurdle in his bid to become the nation's defense secretary as a bitterly divided Senate Armed Services Committee pushed toward a vote Tuesday on his nomination.

"We need a secretary of defense," Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., told Republicans who continued to press for a delay in the vote.

The session exposed the deep split on the panel as Republicans assailed President Barack Obama's selection and Democrats highlighted Hagel's military service.

Obama tapped Hagel, a 66-year-old former Republican senator from Nebraska and twice-wounded Vietnam War combat veteran, to succeed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who is stepping down after four years as CIA director and Pentagon chief.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is pressing for a full Senate vote later this week, most likely on Thursday.

Hagel faces fierce opposition from Republicans who have challenged his past statements and votes on Israel, Iran, Iraq and nuclear weapons. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who was a close friend of Hagel's but split over the Iraq war and politics, said he would vote against the nomination.

McCain cited Hagel's opposition to an increase in U.S. forces in Iraq that McCain backed in 2007, as well as Hagel's halting performance at his confirmation hearing. McCain said the testimony "was the worst I've seen by any nominee before this committee."

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., insisted that the former GOP senator was out of the mainstream. "He's in a league of his own," Graham said.

Democrats argued that the president should have deference in assembling his Cabinet and specifically his second-term national security team.

Some Democrats sought to offer explanations for Hagel's lackluster testimony during more than eight hours of testimony last month.

Text Only
State and Nation
Poll

What is your favorite Easter candy?

Chocolate bunnies
Marshmallow chicks
Chocolate eggs with filling
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Raw: Fire Engulfs Tower Block in China Ocean Drones Making Waves in Research World Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier Raw: Ferry Captain Received Medical Treatment Hundreds Gather for Denver Pot Rally on Easter Transcript Reveals Confusion in Ferry Evacuation Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee