U.S. Senate Filibusters Defense Sec. Nomination of Sen. Chuck Hagel
Folks, sometimes I truly do not understand Washington, DC, whatsoever.
Former Republican United States Senator Chuck Hagel, of Nebraska, who has been nominated by the Obama Administration to become the next Secretary of Defense, has been effectively filibustered by the U.S. Senate on a 58-40 vote in favor of Hagel — with one Senator, Orrin Hatch (R-UT), only being willing to vote “present.”
Sixty votes were needed in order to end this stalemate. And the Senate could only muster 58. (Plus Hatch’s “present” vote.)
Here’s the four Republicans who voted against the filibuster and for Senator Hagel: Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Mike Johanns of Nebraska and Susan Collins of Maine.
Only four Senators voted for their former colleague, a well-respected, decorated military veteran. And a member of their own political party.
(Plus Hatch, who voted present — thus proving he was unwilling to vote against Hagel even if by doing so he looked timid, at best.)
What is wrong with the Senate, if they can’t even vote to confirm a respectable, responsible guy like Senator Hagel?
Look. I lived in Nebraska for several years. I know Hagel to be a political conservative, but he is honest and principled and understands the military extremely well. He has the courage of his convictions.
Hagel will make an admirable Secretary of Defense, as he would most likely be mighty unwilling to spend lives needlessly. And having a former military veteran as the Defense Secretary has to help, doesn’t it?
Well, apparently not if you’re a Republican Senator. Even when it comes to one of your own retired colleagues.
Now we get to wait ten days until another vote can be taken.
All I can say is, I remain unimpressed by what I’ve seen out of both houses of Congress this year. And I echo what Harry Reid had to say as quoted by this article via the Huffington Post:
Reid decried the outcome immediately after the vote Thursday evening, emphasizing the need to relieve outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta of his obligations and confirm Hagel at a time when the country continues to face military challenges.
“There is nothing going to change in the next 10 days about the qualifications of Chuck Hagel,” Reid said.
“I’m going to go call Chuck Hagel when I finish here and say, I’m sorry — sorry this has happened. I’m sorry for the president, I’m sorry for the country, and I’m sorry for you, but we’re not going to give up on you,” he added.
One final thought: Hagel will be confirmed, and deserves to be confirmed. So all of these machinations merely make most of the Republicans look foolish (save the four who voted against the filibuster, thus for Hagel). And that doesn’t give me a whole lot of hope for our country whatsoever.