Former Sen. Chuck Hagel was confirmed by the Senate on Tuesday as the next Secretary of Defense, despite a sizable Republican opposition, in a final vote of 58 to 41.
Earlier this month, Republicans managed to delay an up or down vote on Hagel, postponing confirmation by almost two weeks.
The Senate voted for cloture 71-27 – ending debate and imposing a swift up or down vote early on Tuesday.
Four Republicans sided with the Democrats in confirming Chuck Hagel: Richard Shelby of Alabama, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, and Rand Paul of Kentucky.
Republicans have spitefully opposed Hagel’s confirmation because, they say, his views on Iran are not pro-war enough, he criticized the Iraq War, he has been critical of Israel and the Israeli lobby in Washington, and he has admitted there is bloat in the Pentagon’s budget.
Hagel will soon take over from current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta just days before automatic, across-the-board cuts to the defense budget are due to kick in, a situation that basically assures continuing controversy following the deeply partisan fight over Hagel.
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