Hagel Cloture Vote Coming

The Senate on Tuesday is expected to vote on a procedural cloture motion that would clear the way for the vote on whether former Sen. Chuck Hagel should be the next Defense Secretary. Sixty votes are needed to invoke cloture, which would end debate on Hagel’s nomination and enable a straight up-and-down confirmation vote perhaps as soon as Wednesday, reported Fox News on Feb. 25. Hagel is expected to win the confirmation vote since there are 55 Democrats in the 100-member chamber. Earlier this month, Senate Republicans succeeded in preventing cloture, blocking a final vote at the time for reasons including wanting additional financial disclosure from Hagel. However, some of the GOP senators, such as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), have said they would vote for cloture this time even though they still oppose Hagel’s nomination. McCain said on Feb. 24 on CNN’s State of the Union show he does not think Hagel “is qualified” to be Defense Secretary, but would not hold up the confirmation vote any longer, reported Reuters. Hagel, if confirmed, would succeed Leon Panetta.