Republicans succeeding in filibustering Chuck Hagel’s confirmation vote to Secretary of Defense this week. Only 4 Republicans crossing over to vote for cloture on Hagel--Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, Maine’s Susan Collins, Mississippi’s Thad Cochran, and Nebraska’s Mike Johanns—leaving Democrats two short of the magic 60 needed to break the filibuster. By contrast, John Kerry was confirmed in a 94-3 vote, with only James Inhofe, John Cornyn, and Ted Cruz voting against him.
Nevertheless, Democrats are confident Hagel will be confirmed in a vote later this month. For their part, Some Republicans say they are holding up the Hagel vote (like the Brennan vote) to get more details about Benghazi. It wasn’t done, however, for John Kerry, who was confirmed to lead the department most of the rest of the executive branch blames for the security failure in Benghazi. Rand Paul tried to explain in a statement:
“I tend to believe that the President should be entitled to some leeway on his nominees. That is why I voted in favor of Sen. John Kerry, with whom I largely disagree on foreign policy, to serve as Secretary of State. However, I also believe there are standards in both policy and background that go beyond mere disagreement and go to the suitability of the nominee to perform their job… That is why I have placed a hold on the nomination of John Brennan to serve as director of the CIA until he answers the question of whether or not the President can kill American citizens through the drone strike program on U.S. soil."
"That is also why I voted to not end debate on the Hagel nomination. I do not believe Sen. Hagel has adequately explained his activities and their financing since he left the Senate, and I believe this criteria is especially important when dealing with the revolving door between government and the private sector.”
Republicans want Hagel to release five years of financial disclosures (who’s paid him and why), which Democrats say is three years more than required by law. As for John Brennan, Glenn Greenwald pointed out last month the disparity between how unfeasible Brennan’s nomination to head the CIA in 2008 was compared to his nomination this time around.
The votes on Hagel and Brennan now won’t take place until after the Senate’s recess next week.