Republicans remain divided on whether to demand a 60-vote threshold for Chuck Hagel’s nomination for defense secretary, which is likely to come before the full Senate later this week.
Senator John McCain (R., Ariz.) on Monday urged his colleagues to abandon further efforts to block or delay a vote on Hagel’s nomination, despite strong GOP opposition to the controversial nominee. “We do not want to filibuster,” McCain told reporters. “Bring it to the floor and vote up or down.”
Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), who has threatened to place a hold on Hagel’s nomination until the White House provides more information about the deadly terrorist attack in Benghazi, reiterated his position, but was evasive with reporters when asked if his GOP colleagues would support him. “To me the only leverage I have is these nominations,” he said. “I hate that but that’s the way the system works.”
“I want the information,” Graham added. “I’m not going to give up on this.”
Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin (D., Mich.) announced Monday that the committee would vote on Hagel’s nomination Tuesday afternoon. Senator Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.), the top Republican on the committee, told National Review Online he planned to “make sure there is a 60-vote margin” when Hagel’s nomination comes before the full Senate.
However, Senator Saxby Chambliss (R., Ga.), a senior member on the committee, told NRO he would be “surprised” to see a 60-vote threshold for Hagel’s nomination. “But it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been surprised,” he added.