Hagel clears filibuster hurdle, is set for confirmation

The Washington Post reports: Chuck Hagel’s bid to become the next defense secretary cleared a major hurdle Tuesday, beating back a Republican effort to block his nomination almost two weeks after GOP senators launched a filibuster.

On a 71 to 27 vote, easily clearing the 60-vote threshold, the former Republican senator is poised for confirmation later Tuesday afternoon, overcoming Republican objections to his views on Middle East security.

Eighteen Republicans supported moving to a final vote, joining 53 Democrats. Some of the Republicans who supported ending the Hagel filibuster — including his chief opponents, Sens. John S. McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — are expected to oppose him on the final vote, which will only require a simple majority for his confirmation.

The vote marked a foreign policy victory for President Obama, who pushed the nomination of his old friend from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee despite warnings of a rough confirmation process. Hagel, an Army infantryman who was awarded two Purple Hearts during the Vietnam War, will become the first enlisted man to ever go on to lead the Pentagon.

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