GOP Filibusters Hagel Nomination

Both the Democratic and Republican leadership said they expect to confirm Hagel at the next vote

Senate Republicans on Thursday temporarily blocked the nomination to secretary of defense of former Sen. Chuck Hagel, with Democrats coming just one vote shy from blocking a filibuster.

Congress is in recess all of next week, so another vote for Hagel’s nomination will take place a week from Tuesday, buying Republicans more time to question him and his Washington allies.

“Four Republicans,” reports The Washington Post, “joined all 54 members of the Democratic caucus in voting to end the filibuster.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who has made pains to depict himself as a more traditional realist on foreign policy, wary of too much interventionism – similar, in fact, to the reputation Hagel has built for himself – might have provided the 60th vote necessary to block filibuster had he not decided to vote with Republican hawks to block Hagel’s nomination.

“The official tally Thursday was 58 votes to end the filibuster to 40 against doing so, but 59 initially backed Hagel because Reid changed his vote to no so he could use parliamentary rules to quickly reconsider the nomination,” the Post reports.

The leadership of both the Democratic and Republican parties say they expect Hagel to be confirmed when the next vote takes place on Feb. 26. That would make Thursday’s obstructionism merely a political move to show the President and conservative constituents they stood against Obama’s Hagel nomination.

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