Will Hagel Make It Through Committee?

by Eliana Johnson

Before Chuck Hagel’s nomination as defense secretary is brought before the full Senate, he’ll have to make it through the 26-member Senate Armed Services Committee, which consists of 14 Democrats and twelve Republicans. Democrats have the upper hand, but it’s certainly possible that Hagel’s nomination could be killed in committee.

The Washington Post is keeping tabs on the whip count, which right now stands at seven no/likely no votes to seven yes/likely yes votes, with twelve senators still undecided. According to the Post, Kirsten Gillibrand could be the key vote on the committee, in particular because of her close relationship with her fellow New York senator, Chuck Schumer. Gillibrand hasn’t shown her hand yet, but she’s not brimming with enthusiasm about the nomination. She said in a statement today, “We must look at [Hagel's] entire public service record in its totality in the upcoming confirmation hearings. Considering some of the statements Senator Hagel has made, and votes he has cast, particularly regarding Iran policy, tough questions must and will be asked to clarify his views before these hearings are complete. I look forward to a fair and thorough process.”

The current whip count is below:#more#

No (4)

Lindsey Graham
Ted Cruz
Roger Wicker
David Vitter

Leaning No (3) 

John McCain
Kelly Ayotte
Jim Inhofe

Yes (3)

Jack Reed
Mazie Hirono
Bill Nelson

Leaning Yes (4)

Carl Levin
Claire McCaskill
Joe Manchin
Tim Kaine

Undecided (12)

Deb Fischer
Mike Lee
Saxby Chambliss
Roy Blunt
Jeff Sessions
Kirsten Gillibrand
Joe Donnelly
Jeanne Shaheen
Richard Blumenthal
Mark Udall
Kay Hagan
Angus King

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