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Senate vote nears on Chuck Hagel nomination

11:27 AM, Feb 26, 2013   |    comments
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(USA TODAY) The Chuck Hagel confirmation saga should end soon, probably Tuesday or Wednesday.

The Senate has scheduled a mid-day vote Tuesday on whether to let the Hagel nomination for Defense secretary proceed, and a sufficient number of Republicans have said they would end the delay they began earlier this month.

The schedule for a final up-or-down vote remains up in the air, because Republicans could insist on a maximum of 30 hours of debate before such a tally.

However it comes down, Hagel has the votes to prevail -- eventually.

From the Associated Press:

"Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., clashed with his onetime friend over his opposition to President George W. Bush's decision to send an extra 30,000 troops to Iraq in 2007 at a point when the war seemed in danger of being lost. Hagel, who voted to authorize military force in Iraq, later opposed the conflict, comparing it to Vietnam and arguing that it shifted the focus from Afghanistan ...

"Hagel's halting and inconsistent performance during some eight hours of testimony at this confirmation hearing last month undercut his cause, but it wasn't a fatal blow.

"There was no erosion in Democratic support for the president's choice and Hagel had the backing of three Republicans -- Sens. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Mike Johanns of Nebraska and Richard Shelby of Alabama. Other Republicans were reluctant to block a president's Cabinet choice from getting an up-or-down vote, fearing the precedent.

"Democrats hold a 55-45 edge in the Senate, more than enough to confirm Hagel on a majority vote."

David Jackson, USA TODAY

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