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February 14, 2013

Senate Republicans block vote on confirming Hagel as defense chief

http://www.jewishjournal.com/nation/article/senate_republicans_block_vote_on_confirming_hagel_as_defense_chief

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) on Jan. 31. Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) on Jan. 31. Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

The Senate voted narrowly on Thursday to block a vote on confirmation of President Barack Obama's choice of Chuck Hagel as defense secretary, planning another vote for Feb. 26 - when it is expected to pass.

The tally was 58-40, with almost every Republican voting no, falling short of the 60 needed to pass a motion in the 100-seat chamber to stop debate and allow a vote by the full Senate on confirming the former Republican senator to the post.

The Senate's Democratic majority leader, Harry Reid, said the Senate would vote again on the motion on Feb. 26, after it returns from a week-long recess. Republicans said they expected the motion would pass then, after they have had more time to consider the nomination, clearing the way for the full Senate to vote on Hagel's confirmation.

With Democrats controlling a majority of 55 votes in the Senate, Hagel's nomination is expected to win the simple majority of 51 votes it needs to be passed by the full Senate once such a vote is allowed.

Reporting By Patricia Zengerle

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