The Senate confirmed Chuck Hagel as our new Secretary of Defense. Though Hagel, a former Senator from Nebraska, is a Republican, most Republicans opposed him for his criticism of Israel, his rejection of sanctions against Iran, his opposition to nuclear weapons, and other “dovish positions.” Hagel will join John Kerry, confirmed as the new Secretary of State, as key cabinet members in the second Obama administration.
A divided Senate on Tuesday finally confirmed Chuck Hagel as secretary of Defense, handing President Barack Obama a victory on one of his key Cabinet appointments after weeks of partisan rancor.
The former Republican senator from Nebraska, who is expected to be sworn in on Wednesday, will take the reins at the Pentagon as some 66,000 Americans serve in the ongoing war in Afghanistan and just days before automatic, across-the-board spending cuts are set to kick in on Friday.
His confirmation, approved 58-41, required only a simple majority after the Senate voted 71-27 earlier in the day to end debate. Four Republicans joined Democrats in confirming Hagel: Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, Richard Shelby of Alabama and Rand Paul of Kentucky. . . .
Republicans fought Hagel’s nomination as few Defense secretary nominees have ever been contested, angry over what they perceived as his betrayal on the Iraq War, past comments about Israel and Iran and what the GOP saw as dovish positions on defense spending and nuclear weapons.
Republicans blasted Hagel in his Jan. 31 confirmation hearing, for which he was widely panned, and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) urged President Barack Obama to nominate someone else.
Should the Republicans have fought this battle, or should the president have the right to get his nominees approved? Do you think Hagel will do a good job? What about Kerry? Is this shaping up as a more liberal administration than last time?